What is in this article?:
- Report: Chuck E. Cheese's mascot loses some consumer appeal
- Playing to strengths
The new character, which debuted in July, experienced a significant drop in awarenees, accroding to the market research firm.
Chuck E. Cheese’s updated namesake mascot gained a new look and a guitar when he made his July debut, but a new “E-Score Character” report from E-Poll Market Research found that he lost some appeal with children and their parents.
E-Poll’s proprietary E-Score Character service ranks thousands of brand characters on 37 different personality attributes by surveying hundreds of children and their parents each month. The latest figures indicated that the new Chuck E. Cheese character experienced a 28-percent drop in total awareness and a 9-percent drop in appeal when survey respondents were asked to compare him with the mascot’s previous version.
Following the launch of new creative featuring the slimmed-down, guitar playing Chuck E. in July, the 560-unit chain’s parent company, CEC Entertainment Inc., rolled out a new campaign in August that aimed marketing more directly to parents. Officials for Irving, Texas-based CEC said initial results of the advertising with the updated character are positive thus far.
“While I’m not familiar with this third-party study, our own customer feedback and research show positive response to the new Chuck E.,” chief marketing officer Scott McDaniel wrote in an email to Nation’s Restaurant News. “After just a few short months, we’ve had requests for the new Chuck E. in stores from both moms and kids. We’re looking forward to revealing Chuck E.’s dynamic personality as the campaign unfolds.”
E-Poll’s study found that 39 percent of children ages 6 to 12 surveyed about the Chuck E. Cheese mascot were aware of the new version, compared with 67 percent of children who knew of the old Chuck E. In terms of total appeal, 48 percent of child respondents said they liked the new character or liked him a lot, compared with 57 percent responding favorably to the older version of the brand's character.
The new Chuck E.’s appeal with boys 6 to 12 years of age dropped 11 percent to 46 percent, and among girls 6 to 12 years of age, his appeal fell from 8 percent to 49 percent who liked the new version.
Among the 1,500 mothers interviewed for E-Poll’s study, 60 percent were aware of the old character, while only 11 percent were aware of the new one. The change in mascots had a smaller effect on his appeal, as 26 percent of moms liked the old character and 24 percent liked the new character.
E-Poll also tracked the rise and fall of the new Chuck E.’s scores on individual mascot attributes. The percentage of people identifying the new mascot as "funny" leapt 9 percent, "mostly for boys" increased 5 percent, "talented" rose 4 percent and "cool" increased 3 percent. However, 8 percent fewer people described the character as "nice," 8 percent fewer as "friendly," 7 percent fewer as "a good friend" and 4 percent fewer as "cute."
“Those aren’t substantial drops on the attributes, and because [CEC] did not heavy up on TV, it’s hard to say whether TV spots would’ve impacted those numbers,” said Gerry Philpott, president and chief executive of E-Poll. “Having a static figure in print mailers or on coupons does not give you the same feeling [commercials would]."
However, Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment Inc., allocated some of its marketing spending away from TV this year in favor of a parent-focused campaign weighted more toward radio and digital media.
"If their media is increased, and they make the character more accessible, those attribute scores could go back up,” noted Philpott.