We make some of the best mascot costumes in the world. But even great costumes can make great mascots and that’s because there’s more to being a memorable mascot than just zipping into a costume. A great mascot needs to know how to entertain and motivate players and fans. They need a big personality to fit those big shoes and feet.
Only a well-trained performer that knows how to bring energy, personality, and life to a mascot can bring the character to its full potential, regardless of how expensive or well-made the costume is.
Let’s take the Milwaukee Buck’s Bango mascot. Why was he named a NBA mascot of the year, voted as the first “Most Awesome Mascot” by the Cartoon Network and even featured in the original documentary series on Hulu called Behind the Mask”?
For one thing, Bango has been entertaining Bucks fans for 36 years with high-flying acrobatic dunks, daring stunts and funny antics. He’s developed a persona that has made him stand out and given himself a name.
He’s not just waving his hands during a football game. In fact, Bango has makes over 250 appearances in the Milwaukee community every year stopping at stores, offices, schools and community events. He’s become a community hero. Even as he crosses the street to an event, cars honk, people wave, kids give hugs. Some of the best mascots have the least impressive costumes, but with 18,700 fans and counting, he’s one of the more notable mascots. Geez, he even has his own social media accounts and website. So the takeaway is this, Promote yourself. A good mascot doesn’t just appear during half time, but does community events, online marketing, and videos.
There’s also the San Diego Chicken. Is his costume fantastic? Not especially. In fact, his original costume was rumored to have scared young kids. But the San Diego Chicken became one of the most famous mascots to entertaining audiences young and old and is even in the Mascot Hall of Fame.
His story? Fan loyalty and hanging out with the big shots. Besides a lot of self-promotion, including publicity stunts outside of baseball such as delivering watermelons to beach sites, handing out free concert tickets, and giving away record albums to people, he also made stage appearances at rock concerts with famous artists like Paul McCartney and even Elvis. When he was fired in 1977, many loyal fans of Giannoulas (who knew he had been fired) booed the replacement Chicken loudly. The radio station even went to court to block Giannoulas from ever working in a Chicken costume again. However, a California Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Giannoulas, which set the stage for a triumphant return.
Another example is the Phillie Phanatic. The costume is a morphing between the Green Hulk and Sesame Street’s Snuffaluffagus with a nose job. Yet, since the Phanatic horribly taunted the Boston Red Sox, the Philly Phanatic has been one of the most likeable mascots in history.
The bottom line is this: it’s not the costume that makes the mascot. It’s what the mascot does inside the costume that makes him truly outstanding and memorable.