A good number of blue-chip corporations have chosen to create  ‘spokescharacters’ to represent them. But are they effective?
Yes and no, according to a recent research project from the Department of Media Arts at Kun Shan University, Taiwan, which focussed on one in particular – ‘A-Lung’ the yellow 3-D meta-dinosaur who is a representative for the Taiwan Life Insurance Company.
The investigators asked groups of respondents if they thought that  “imaginary of [sic] dinosaur is suitable for insurance”… Opinions were varied: such as “The character looks cheery. It has a big head, round belly, and short limbs. It looks like a hippopotamus.” and  “The character is cute. It has a big nose and round belly. The design makes us feel it’s simple, honest and trustworthy.”
In the final analysis though, results revealed an overall tendency which might be disappointing for those companies who are tightly focussed on upwardly leveraging their bottom line via a high-profile (and often surprisingly costly) spokescharacter.

“… we can conclude from the descriptions that spokes-character is effective for people’s attention on the advertisement, but it is not able to increase their purchase tendency. “

The findings, which were presented at the International Design and Cinema Conference, Design Cinema 2008, Istanbul, November 19 – 22, 2008, can be read in full here.