For decades popular characters from films, TV, and video games have had another life outside of their own worlds. Using characters in other areas, like advertising, toys or even slot games, is a hugely popular technique for boosting sales because consumers have already built a relationship with their favourite character and subconsciously trust the brand associated with the character more. As well as trusting the brand more because of the character representing it, people are more likely to spend money on something that features their favourite character. Some franchises have taken advantage of the character bias more than others – here are some of the characters that you’ll have seen in most industries.
Popular Characters Being Used Elsewhere
- Minions – Minions were hugely popular a few years ago and could be found absolutely everywhere. Alongside the films, Minions dominated TV adverts – the most notable being a huge deal that Pixar had with Sky to appear in adverts promoting the TV subscription service. Outside of this, the famous yellow creatures had their own line of soft toys, accessories, and even stationery. At one point in time, the Minions were so popular that they even had their own slot games on iGaming websites
- Marvel – Marvel is without a doubt one of the biggest franchises when it comes to partnerships. Marvel is one of the biggest success stories – you can even find a Marvel-themed cake in grocery stores. Loki appeared in an advert for Hyundai, and other characters have been used to promote anything from an airline to cough medicine. You can buy Marvel homewares, stationery, clothing and soft toys. One place that you won’t find Marvel anymore is on gaming websites. For a time Marvel was extensively licensed for appearances in Marvel-themed slot games, but the owner of Disney is famously against gambling so when Disney bought Marvel they didn’t allow the license to be renewed
- Rick and Morty – Rick and Morty is one of the mainstays of online gambling, with the franchise being used as the theme of many online slot games. The characters and premise of the show make it easily translatable to online casino games, but that’s not the only place that the duo can be found. One of the most famous partnerships is the Rick and Morty collaboration with Wendy’s. The fast-food chain actually created a pop-up drive-through restaurant called “Morty’s” to celebrate the release of season 5. Rick and Morty have also been used to sell a huge amount of merchandise – name a type of product and there’s probably a range with Morty’s face on out there!!
- Top Cat – Character franchises don’t have to be recent to be relevant. Halifax partnered with Top Cat in a brilliantly targeted advert. As children of the 90s grew up with the lovable alley cat characters, Halifax used the franchise to target those same 90s kids to promote their first-time buyer mortgages. As much as this was a stroke of genius on Halifax’s part, it actually led to a resurgence in the popularity of the characters as younger audiences were reminded of an old favourite. Admittedly there isn’t a huge amount of industries that have used Top Cat and his friends to boost their sales figures and you’ll struggle to find any Top Cat merchandise on the shelves, but it goes to show that it doesn’t have to be the trending character of the moment in order to be a brilliant marketing piece. Halifax actually went on to use Scooby-Doo to advertise mortgages in the same way and it was so successful that Sky copied the marketing ploy, using Toy Story and Monsters Inc. for their ads instead.
The Use of Famous Faces
Using characters for advertisements is absolutely genius, but as a whole characters are usually created to be relatable and attractive to make it easier to sell products using the franchises. This marketing ploy works really well and the character used can be changed depending on the audience that is being targeted. Rick and Morty work really well for online slots because a lot of the Rick and Morty fan base are in their late 20s and early 30s. Using characters to create products and advertise brands is nothing new, and it’s not likely to go anywhere soon.
Which Industries Use Characters?
One thing that new companies struggle with is brand recognition and getting customers to trust them, and also gaining the interest of new customers. Children have always been an audience where brands have used well-known faces to capture their imagination and get their interest – remember the days when characters and small toys would be given away in boxes of cereal? This isn’t to be nice; it is to encourage children to ask their parents for that brand of cereal over any other!
Another lucrative commercial opportunity is renting out IP to iGaming and casino companies – this list of new casinos will feature common characters integrated into their slots games, like Batman and other famous faces. If you’re new to betting or you’re deciding which online casino you want to spend your money with, it can be hard to know which is best or who to trust. By using famous characters and faces that people will recognise, casinos are helping to give customers a safety net and a feeling of confidence in their way.
Of course, it isn’t just fictional characters and film stars that are being used in this way. Social media influencers are definitely becoming more popular with brands to work with. Lots of people have their favorite famous faces such as reality TV stars and social media influencers, who share parts of their day-to-day life and therefore create something that people feel they can relate to. It’s now common for brands to work with these people to review and feature their items in order to encourage their followers and fans to buy the product or service. We have used famous faces in all sorts of advertising and promotions for many years and this is a trend that is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon!