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.
Playing to strengths
Failure to make inroads with mothers is not as big a concern as a drop in appeal with kids, Philpott said, because parents tend to go to whichever restaurants their children enjoy anyway. Campaigns for healthful pizzas or competitive price points resonate more with parents, of course, but the kids care more about the fun, he said.
“It’s always a tough job to market to parents and kids simultaneously, because they have different needs,” Philpott said. “You walk a fine line of kids not caring if the food is healthy, because they want it to be fun and — especially in that 'tween' age — they want it to be something their parents don’t like.
Increasing the appeal to those kids, especially boys, would likely and rightly be the focus for CEC in the coming months, he added. “If the character improves the chain’s image among boys, who are usually the first to reject something new, it stays hip longer,” he said.
Chuck E. Cheese’s overall deficits in awareness and appeal are not unexpected and likely would improve the more familiar people become with the newer mascot, Philpott said. “Any time anybody changes something like a brand character or logo, there’s a drop in awareness and appeal,” he said. “The average consumer may not pay attention until it’s right in front of him.”
A brand character like Chuck E. Cheese, even a newer version of one, remains a versatile tool for a company like CEC, Philpott added, suggesting that the character could talk up new aspects of the guest experience in commercials or help somebody in a Chuck E. Cheese costume work more parties in the restaurants or outside the eateries’ four walls.
“The new mascot might play into hosting parties a little easier,” he said, “because he’s supposed to be a performer. There’s the chance for more event marketing, which would play well to CEC’s strengths, because the character scores better for ‘funny,’ ‘talented’ and ‘cool.’”
CEC and its franchisees operate Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants in 48 states and eight international markets.