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Foodies’ Mascot Recognition Challenge

Starbucks’ two-tailed mermaid is America’s most recognized product mascot, according to a consumer survey of 1,630 U.S. consumers by Crestline Customer Promotional Products. More than 95 percent of surveyed consumers had no problem putting a name to a mermaid. 

The news isn’t quite so upbeat for the Keebler elves who for years have “baked (cookies) with Elfin magic.” Older adults remember them (95 percent of baby boomers), but only 37 percent of Gen Z associated the elf with the cookie brand. 

Of the top five most memorable mascots, four are food related: Starbucks at No. 1, followed by Colonel Sanders of KFC, The Geico Gecko, M&M’s spokecandies and McDonald’s Ronald McDonald came in fifth.  

Of the least memorable, three are food: Coco the Monkey for Coco Pops, Sugar Bear for Golden Crisp and Chicken of the Sea’s mermaid. 

Local dairy co-op, Land O’ Lakes’ Indian Princess was ranked No. 47. And Pillsbury’s Popin’ Fresh doughboy was deemed the most likable. (Mr. Mucus from Mucinex received a plethora of  distinctions: least likable, least persuasive, least trustworthy, most annoying and most creepy. )

Most of the characters in the top 20 have been around for generations with the average introduction year of 1964. In some cases the character was more recognizable than the brand. One huge exception was Cornelius Rooster, the mascot for Cornflakes, where only 9 percent knew his name, but 58 percent knew the brand.  

Test your mascot recognition IQ with the following food categories from the  Crestline survey. Nonbaby boomers are graded on a curve to make it fair.  



1. Cap’n Crunch from Cap’n Crunch  2. Cornelius “Corny” Rooster from Corn Flakes  3. Lucky the Leprechaun from Lucky Charms  4. Toucan Sam from Fruit Loops  5. Coco the Monkey from Coco Pops  6. Snap, Crackle & Pop from Rice Krispies  7. Sonny the Cuckoo Bird from Coco Puffs  8. Sugar Bear from Golden Crisp  9. Tony the Tiger from Frosted Flakes  10. Silly Rabbit from Trix  11. Little Debbie  12. Blue Bonnet  13. Charlie  from StarKist Tuna  14. Chef Boyardee  15. Land O’ Lakes  16. Green Giant  17. Kool-Aid  18. Laughing Cow Cheese   19. Chicken of the Sea Tuna  20. Pillsbury Doe Boy  21. SunKist Raisins  22. Quaker Oatmeal  23. Nestles Quick Chocolate Powdered Milk  24. Morton Salt  25. Uncle Ben’s Rice

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