Democrat and republican candidates are currently competing for the precidency in the US – and we hear a lot about Donald, Hillary and Bernie etc. But it is also a fight between two mascots: A donkey and an elephant!
Even political parties have brand characters. The democrats have a donkey – the republican an elephant. And this relates perfectly to the reasons why many brands use characters in the first place.
In my study, I am generally using the term brand character about the figures and creatures, because I think it is more telling and broader than the word mascot. But often the terms brand character and mascot are used as synonyms.
Mascot however has an additional connotation and meaning – because the word mascot originally is to be understood as an item of magical power. A mascot is a person, an animal or an object that brings good luck. A mascot can be compared to the use of an icon, a charm, a religious relic or a talisman and is in your possession, worn or carried to protect you. In that context it makes perfect sense that often even the smallest local sports team or club has a mascot helping and cheering them to victory.
In this case the symbolic totem qualities of donkeys and elephants are hopefully transferred to the fighting politicians.
Democrats have used the donkey since 1828 because of its strong-willed and stubborn nature. It is smart and brave.
The elephant is republican and is supposed to symbolize the strong and dignified.
Read more about the American political mascots and their origin here: