Boy, How You've Changed: Nine Big Mascot Makeovers

mascot makeoverHow can a company revitalize interest in its product or brand? One option: Make over its "famous face." That's what's in store for Punchy, the longtime Hawaiian Punch mascot. According to a Dow Jones report, the "very Hanna-Barbera" surfer (left pic), who was first introduced in 1961, will get a facelift in February (right pic). The goal? To make him more appealing to 13-year-olds who "live in a Pixar world."

In addition to the new three-dimensional look of Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch formula has also been revamped. Splenda will be used to cut 25% of the drink's calories.

But Punchy is not the only brand mascot to go under the "knife." From Mr. Peanut to the Sun-Maid girl, we take a look at eight more brand icons that have gotten the most major makeovers in the last few years.
Planter's mascot Mr. Peanut has a new look on his Facebook page.  Thumnail links to facebook.2. Mr. Peanut - 2010
According to the Planters' website, Mr. Peanut was born in 1916 when a schoolboy submitted his sketch to win the company's contest for a brand icon. A commercial artist later added the top hat, monocle and cane. But after almost 94 years of being a silent (and nearly nude) pitchman, the much-loved mascot got a voice (a la Robert Downey Jr.), new coloring (from yellow to light brown) and several old-school outfits. Mr. Peanut is also now modern enough to have his very own Facebook page. WalletPop reviewed the new ad campaign when it rolled out in November 2010.

Dora the Explorer Mascot3. Dora the Explorer - 2009
Trying to hold onto preschool fans as they age, Dora the Explorer's parent companies, Nickelodeon and Mattel, gave her a hip new look as a tween with fashionable clothes and lush long hair. The companies initially released just a silhouette of the new tween Dora, but the Bratz-like shadow caused such an uproar -- with parents incensed at the thought of their child's wholesome Dora being sexed up -- that the full look was released early to quell the uprising. The brand extension (Dora's Explorer Girls) centers around online play and merchandise and is not supposed to affect the Dora that currently appears in the Nickelodeon cartoon.

Michelin Man mascot4. Michelin Man - 2009
In October 2009, French tire company Michelin launched a $20 million advertising push that featured a much more aggressive role and image for the well-liked and well-known Michelin Man. CNNMoney described it this way: The "mild-mannered Michelin Man" emerges as a "tire chucking superhero." According to the company, the new campaign hearkens back to the way the Michelin Man was used in ads from the early 1900s.

Disney's Tinkbell mascot makeover5. Tinkerbell - 2009
In 2009, Tinkerbell got a new outfit -- complete with a hat, poncho, tights and knee-high boots. The impish Tink donned her new duds in the straight-to-DVD movie Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure which was released in October of that year. But, if you prefer the classic Tink, have no fear. One quick look at and it is apparent that her new Peter-Pan-eque look is an addition to her wardrobe and not a replacement for her iconic itsy-bitsy green dress and dainty shoes.

American Greetings presents the Strawberry Shortcake mascot makeover6. Strawberry Shortcake - 2008
Strawberry Shortcake got more than just a new dress or two when she got a makeover in early 2008 from American Greetings. The '80s icon got a total makeover that included a few nips and tucks, as well as changes to her makeup. A new animated movie (The Sky's the Limit) featuring her updated look was released on DVD in 2009. Then, on Oct. 10, 2010, the all-new animated TV series Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures premiered to celebrate the sweet gal's 30th anniversary. What else has changed? Strawberry Shortcake now spends a lot of time talking on her cell phone and eating fresh fruit in an effort to appeal to a new generation of young girls.

mascot makeover7. Superman - 2010
In November 2010, DC Comics launched a new line of graphic novels called Earth One. A company promo for the Superman edition warns readers to "brace yourself for a staggering new take on the world's most popular superhero." And they ain't kidding. He's shorter and less-imposing than the traditional Man of Steel, but he's also edgier, moodier and much more hip. Bye bye cape, hello hoodie.

mascot makeover8. Rainbow Brite - 2009
Launched in 1984 by Hallmark, Rainbow Brite and her friends were hugely popular -- with books, comic books, cereal, party goods, TV shows and a movie to prove it. Today, the Rainbow Land heroine has gone the way of the new Strawberry Shortcake and tween Dora -- taller, leaner and much more fashion savvy.

mascot makeover9. Sun-Maid girl - 2007
The original Sun-Maid girl was Lorraine Collett Petersen and she became the face of the raisin company in 1916. According to the company website, "although it has changed with the times, the Sun-Maid trademark design has always been based on the original pose by young Lorraine Collett." We wonder if that sentiment holds true, not just for the image on the packaging, but for the image it uses in its ads as well? Although the Sun-Maid girl got her animated makeover back in 2007, controversy arose in 2009 when a new TV ad ran. WalletPop's ad expert, Jami Bernard, took exception to the Sun-Maid girl's, er additives in these new ads, calling her a "Barbie doll in Amish clothing." Read more of her Ad Rant here.
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