Chuck E. Cheese's new mascot hopes to refresh restaurant chain
CEC Entertainment Inc. released a promotional picture of the new Chuck E. Cheese, the latest revision of the 35-year-old mascot, according to the Associated Press. Chuck E. now sports a younger, svelte figure while leaning extravagantly into riffs on an electric guitar.
The Irving, TX-based CEC said in May that revenue at its over-500 locations fell 4.2 per cent in the first quarter, leading to a decreased outlook for the rest of 2012. The new Chuck E. will launch this Thursday with a new ad campaign.
Chuck E. Cheese's Facebook page updated its timeline with a cover photo showing a silhouette of the new mascot design, despite the full-colour version's availability elsewhere.
"Chuck E. is getting a rock star makeover! It's like nothing you've ever seen before!" the company said in a status update on June 22.
The mouse will also be getting a new voice. The Associated Press reports that Duncan Brannan, who played the character in commercials since 1993, will be replaced by Jaret Reddick (@jaret2113), lead singer for the band Bowling for Soup.
This isn't the first time Chuck E. has received a marketing makeover. Its original version more resembled a New Jersey rat who sometimes held a cigar. According to the Seatttle P-I, the company's founders originally considered naming the chain Rick Rat's Pizza, but decided it wouldn't play well with families with young children.
A photo of the older, rat-like Chuck E. from the company's Facebook page. (Facebook.com) Neither is Chuck E. the only major brand mascot or representative to undergo a major, sometimes complete, overhaul. Before developing his wall-smashing tendencies, the Kool-Aid Man was often represented simply as a pitcher with a jovial face. Eventually grew arms, legs and occasionally a wardrobe.
And the ubiquitous Ronald MacDonald of MacDonald's fast food chain sported a drastically different visage on his first appearance in 1962, complete with a tray for a hat and a cup for a nose.
The original Ronald made it to Number Three on Time's Top 10 Creepiest Mascots.
Is Chuck E. Cheese's new mascot a suitable revamp for the company? Would a new mascot make you more likely to visit the chain, or do you think it feels like a desperate marketing trick?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)
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