The Pop Tart Bowl Mascot: What You Can Learn from a Marketing Success Story 

May 28, 2024

black and white sketch of a poptart in a toaster

If you have ever drafted a fantasy football team or filled out a playoff bracket, you might just be a fan of college football. You probably spend your holidays in pajamas, with a bag of chips and salsa on the coffee table, completely engrossed in football. Behind the scenes at these bowl games, marketing gurus try every tactic in the books to attract even more attention. That’s their job. From parades to festivals, the game itself can take a backseat to the outlying promotional events. In December 2023, the Pop Tarts Bowl schooled all other professionals on how to make their brand memorable. It started with a lovable character bubbling with personality.

Pop Tarts introduced the world to an ordinary toaster pastry named Strawberry. Fans watched as he heeded a call to adventure, and became the story’s hero–a life-sized mascot, brimming with charisma. Over the course of the game, Strawberry learned to navigate the challenge of being temptingly delicious. Players tried to lick him, and he narrowly escaped. He shared his dream of making people happy with fans. Over the course of the evening, he realized that he could only do that through the ultimate sacrifice. Strawberry lowered himself into a gigantic toaster, offering himself as a tasty reward to the famished football players at the end of the game. The players, coaches, staff, and announcers couldn’t wait to eat Strawberry. They gathered around his final resting tray, scooping handfuls of his sweet goodness and shoved them in their mouths, fully ecstatic. Happy.

Strawberry was not the first bowl game mascot–far from it. Dozens of other lovable characters dotted the same screen during the same holiday season. He wasn’t even the first food-based mascot. The Cheez-Its mascot fell flat around the same time. 

Still, most people remember nothing about the game–which teams played, the final score, or where it took place. But they can tell you about the Pop Tart Bowl mascot. He went viral and hit an emotional chord that raised the standard for all other marketing campaigns. Experts estimated that Pop Tarts would rake in millions of dollars in exposure due to brand awareness. 

Why? Because Strawberry told his story.

If you want a marketing professional to help tell YOUR story, contact JamboJon today for a free consultation. 

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