If you’re looking for a way to spice up your marketing, you might not need to look any further than your iPad apps. Fictional characters with widespread recognition are a powerful marketing tool. When presented with the same cereal in different packaging, consumers reported the box with cartoon characters tastes more delicious. Modern consumers make purchase decisions based on whether or not they trust a brand, and recognizable characters build instant recognition. Powering up your content marketing could be as simple as using the global fame of some of the world’s most legendary visuals. To inspire your content strategy, we’ve compiled a few favorites:
1. Angry Birds
image credit: Mashable
Once the star of a fun app developed by Finnish-based Rovio, Angry Birds have evolved into global superstars during the years on the market. Currently boasting more than 700 million downloads on iTunes for the original game alone, Rovio CFO Herkko Soininen reports the brand has plans to expand beyond sodas and pillows to blockbuster films. Use these indomitable avians to spice up your solution-focused content marketing.
2. The Simpsons
image credit: Simpsons Wikia
The longest-running scripted show in television history, The Simpson family has been entertaining audiences since 1989. If your tutorials are so simple that even Homer Simpson could master it, by all means include these characters.
3. Hello Kitty
image credit: tvtropes
Who knew the world’s cutest kitten is actually pushing 40? The star of Japan’s Sanrio corporation has adorned everything from erasers to airbuses, and is worth an estimated 5 billion annually. Make your content concepts less intimidating and more adorable with this feline’s assistance.
image credit: Tintin.com
First introduced to the world by Belgian Cartoonist Herge in 1929, this plucky and slightly unlucky journalist has starred in 24 graphic novels, 7 films, and 2 television shows to date. While he may have a knack for stumbling into sticky situations, there’s no denying Tintin has a bravery that will inspire your buyer personas to seek new solutions.
5. SpongeBob Squarepants
image credit: pooh adventures
He’s lived in a pineapple under the sea since May 1, 1999, and SpongeBob is an icon of childhood for many of today’s youngest millennial consumers. Mr. Squarepants’ unflappable optimism can lend a cheerful bent to your content, or drive home positive benefits.
image credit: rugrats fanon
A mainstay on children’s television network Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2004, the Rugrats made fame by managing to get away with anything while adults were in the room. If you’re marketing to young professionals in their mid-to-late twenties, there are few more effective ways to bring them back to childhood than with these devious toddlers.
7. Cruella deVille
image credit: Wikipedia
One of the most-reviled villains in all of media since the 1961 release of Disney’s 101 Dalmations, Cruella has left a serious mark on the heart of virtually every adult consumer. If you truly want to drive a point home in your marketing campaign, use this puppy thief for maximum impact.
8. Rocky Balboa
image credit: wikipedia
Who doesn’t hold their head a little higher every time they hear the theme to the Rocky movies? From 1976 to 2006, Sylvester Stallone’s character personified overcoming adversity to such an extent that your audience might just jump up to go for a jog.
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Since 1978, Garfield has embodied everyone’s inner need for a nap and a few pans of lasagna. If you’re in the business of marketing pasta, his unofficial endorsement is a given. Otherwise, use his penchant for sarcasm while attempting new tones in your content marketing.
image credit: guardian
Who knew that Dorothy Gale, the unfortunate victim of a tornado that transported her far from Kansas, was actually a ripe 113 years old? A star of a series of iconic novels well before the 1939 musical starring Judy Garland, Dorothy’s pluckiness can inspire any of your prospects facing serious obstacles.
11. The Smurfs
image credit: cegamers
Oh, the poor little Smurfs. All they’ve ever wanted is to peacefully exist in their wooded village, eating sasparilla, but for the existence of their mortal enemy Gargamel. These characters are the perfect mixture of bravery and cuteness, and a perfect tool for infusing your content with an element of the familiar.
image credit: faithfool
There’s arguably not a single fictional character in American pop culture with more invincibility than Superman. If both your buyer personas and Superman are facing a personal kryptonite in the form of a pain point, use his unbeatable powers to infuse some inspiration.
image credit: know your meme
Perhaps the most-elusive fictional character that made our list, who didn’t spend hundreds of hours during childhood summers trying to find Waldo? Use his unofficial endorsement to signal to your first-time website visitors that their search for a branded solution has come to an end.
14. Calvin and Hobbes
image credit: fanpop
I can’t speak for others, but I knew many of my friends and family went into unofficial mourning when cartoonist Bill Watterson decided to retire his decade-old comic. Perhaps the most intelligent and insightful 6 year-old who ever lived, Calvin’s tendency to speak the truth and add a little sarcasm can make for some refreshing marketing.
15. Harry Potter
image credit: harry potter
The naturally magical star of the bestselling series in history, I think we’ve all wished we could be transported to Hogwarts at one point or another. Whether you leverage Harry’s gift for the divine or successful defeat of Lord Voldemort, there’s really no way to lose.
image credit: fanpop
While the blockbuster movies came much later, Gollum was first introduced to the world when J.R.R. Tolkien published his series beginning in 1954. If there was ever a being so pathetic to inspire some serious behavioral change in your prospects, this would be it.
17. Edward Cullen
image credit: ivstatic
While some may frown upon the world’s most-famous vampire as exclusively for Tweens, there’s no denying the fact the Twilight series have sold 116 million copies in 38 different languages worldwide. Edward is highly romantic, sparkly, and dead, so use these factors to your full advantage.
18. Peter Pan
image credit: letters to peter pan
Another of the oldest characters we included, Peter Pan burst on the scene with his trademark boyish energy in 1902. Virtually everyone is familiar with the 1953 Disney adaption, his resistance to aging and cleverness can infuse your content marketing with youthfulness.
19. Charlie Brown
image credit: et online
Since 1947, few fictional characters have garnered more sympathy and pity than Charles Schulz lovable loser. Charlie could be a powerful tool for building affinity with prospects who lack self-confidence, or feel they’ve had a string of bad luck.
20. Stewie Griffin
image credit: tutsking
Perhaps the most famous character to come out of Family Guy, Stewie Griffith has been rated the 95th most frightening villain of all time by Wizard Magazine, and he still hasn’t celebrated his 2nd birthday. If your ideal customer is an evil genius, or simply a bit misunderstood, they’ll love seeing Stewie.
21. The Little Mermaid
image credit: Disney
While each of Disney’s Princesses have distinct appeal, there’s a lot to love about Ariel. She grows legs, snags a Prince, and improves her relationship with her Father in just 82 minutes! To convince your prospects that the impossible is attainable, use this determined mermaid.
image credit: animation magazine
This tough sailor began as a comic strip in 1929, and was among the first stars of animated shorts. While no one can sell spinach to kids better than Popeye, his record of defeating tough villains communicates messages of persistence.
23. Sherlock Holmes
image credit: cosmos
Since 1887, this detective has been synonymous with brilliant problem-solving that any brand should want to get behind. If you’re wondering whether Holmes is ready for retirement, his recent major film and current tv show indicate he’s fresher than ever.
image credit: fanpop
Since 1969, Scooby has been the smartest character on a still-popular television program, despite the fact he struggles to speak. He’s a perfect fit if you’re trying to attract buyers who solve mysteries in a van, though he could be used more often to communicate loyalty, courage, or an endless appetite.
25. Poison Ivy
image credit: wikipedia
Is it possible to be a likeable villiain? Poison Ivy comes close, though her tendency to wreak havoc through eco-terrorism isn’t very appealing. Her confusing relationship with Batman makes her the perfect fit for putting a face on difficult-to-solve problems.
image credit: yahoo
Credited as a major turning point in video game history, this hungry lump of pixels brought mass appeal to gaming. It’s hard to go wrong with him – the Davie-Brown index reports he’s the most-recognized video game character worldwide.
27. The Flintstones
image credit: Babble
While these characters had a relatively brief stint on television in the 1960s, their legacy lives on. Essentially, they were a prior generation’s version of The Simpsons. Their recognized connection to primitive behaviors has some serious mass appeal.
28. The Jetsons
image credit: techtelgirl
While there’s a slim chance the world will have robot servants and flying cars exclusively in the year 2062, The Jetsons remain a relevant way to communicate futuristic principles and great technology.
29. Bugs Bunny
image credit: warner bros
An American mainstay since prior to World War II, Bugs Bunny’s trademark cocky attitude is a fabulous way to encourage your audience to stay cool under pressure.
image credit: ideas
His name may be inspired by the familiar term “Sweetie,” but this world-famous Warner Brothers character has a tough side. Between Tweety’s high-pitched voice and diminutive side, he’s the perfect visualization of underdog triumph.
31. Rosie the Riveter
image credit: history
First sketched in 1942 by artist J. Howard Miller, Rosie the Riveter could be arguably one of the longest-running memes in American culture. Her biceps and a custom, branded message are one of the best possible ways to encourage through content marketing.
32. Kermit the Frog
image credit: muppets
Since 1955, Kermit has stood as a symbol of subtle humor, and sympathy. If you want to communicate that it’s not easy being green or any other hue your prospects are coping with, he’s your amphibian.
image credit: neal adams
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to Batman, one of the most-beloved and mysterious fighters for everything good in fiction. He’ll infuse your content marketing with nocturnal toughness.
34. James Bond
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The star of 23 films, Bond is synonymous with expert espionage and martinis that aren’t shaken, but stirred. Use him to promote some pretty-advanced concepts or gadgets.
35. The Pink Panther
image credit: sites by tracy
The world’s most surreptitious feline was successfully used by Nike to advertise some pretty nimble boots. That doesn’t mean he’s entirely off limits for your company to promote stealth features, though.
Before you integrate any of these characters into your content marketing strategy, be sure you’re giving appropriate credit. Additionally, remember that not all fictional characters have positive connotations, so choose wisely. The right hero can make your brand beloved and trusted in an instant.
Who are your favorite fictional characters?
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