Mascot performance offers a creative avenue to embody your brand and connect with your customers. Building brand identity, putting a smile on the audience’s faces, and creating customer loyalty with a feel-good mascot performance puts a business on the map.
The right performance in the right tone turns mascots into magic. Understanding the dos and don’ts of mascot performance unlocks this magic and sprinkles it on performers, crowds, and businesses alike.
Things to Avoid: The ‘Donts’ of Mascot Performance
1. Don’t Break the Immersion
People know that mascots are just performers, but maintaining the illusion is a big part of the art. Breaking character, talking in your voice, or acting off-brand breaks the spell of mascot performance, making it a huge no-no wherever possible.
2. Try Not to Talk During Your Mascot Performance
Most mascots don’t talk, as they are mainly a visual performance. Expressing your character through movement, body language, and gestures presents a creative alternative. Mascots also collaborate with their handlers to swerve direct questions and keep the performance alive.
3. Don’t Wear an Incomplete Costume
Any uniform comes with certain responsibilities in upholding the brand values, and mascots are no exception. Besides breaking character, mascots should avoid being seen in partial costume. Mascot costumes are all or nothing. Anything in between alienates the audience and ruins the act.
4. Don’t Make Your Exit Too Obvious
Mascots require regular breaks, so they should plan and schedule their entrances and exits through their performance area. Discreet dressing rooms form a core component of a believable and effective mascot performance.
5. Don’t Scare the Audience or Argue With People
Mascot performance requires a saintly level of patience and flexibility and a capable mascot handler. Defusing tensions, keeping the mood light, and backing off to avoid scaring young ones are invaluable mascot skills. Picking up children, for example, can scare them and their parents too. Safety and good humour go hand in hand, so risk-free acts like waves or high-fives ensure the performance goes smoothly.
6. Don’t Endanger Yourselves or Others
Performing in a thick, heavy costume is no mean feat, particularly as masks and prosthetics obscure vision. Make sure you get a good idea of your terrain and practice in the suit to avoid trips and tumbles. Effective mascot handlers take care to guide costumed performers past spills, stairs, and uneven terrain.
The Keys to a Great Mascot Act
1. Tailoring Your Mascot Performance to Your Target Audience
Of course, having fun might look very different depending on the audience. Decide the goals and mood of your mascot performance for the occasion, and tweak it slightly as the show goes on.
Key objectives might include impressing audiences with high-class mascot costumes, making people laugh, or targeting a particular demographic. Small children might want you to get on their level and greet them eye to eye. Adults and teens might prefer a selfie or a dance move. Whatever your goals, pick them, stick to them, and do them well.
2. Staying Animated
In an effective mascot performance, the movement never stops. Thrive off the eyes on you, and keep them entertained with lively choreography. Many effective mascots work out a playbook with their managers, deciding on uniform gestures, walks, and movements. Practising these movements and executing them on the day creates a character-driven, immersive, and entertaining mascot performance.
3. Working With Other Representatives
A great mascot performance is the stuff of dreams for their fans and their business, and teamwork makes this dream work.
Mascots use handlers as a conduit between themselves and the crowd to field any awkward questions, confrontations, or pushy parents.
Interactions with other mascots and costumed representatives also bring the show to life. Beyond working with other mascots in real-time, learning from other mascot performances and interacting on social media also adds another dimension to a mascot performance.
4. Taking Care of Yourself
Mascot performances can really take it out of you. The high intensity, heat, and carefully crafted illusion of performance can cause tiredness, dehydration, and soreness if you don’t take care of yourself.
Performers should put themselves first. Even if you’re worried about maintaining the show and representing your brand, regular breaks give you the tools to perform better for longer.
5. Having Fun With Your Mascot Performance
Above all, mascot performance should be fun. Keeping it light, energetic, and fun creates a great foundation on which to build ideal interactions. Like an improv comedian, take a ‘yes and’ approach to audience work. Work with whatever they give you, and give something of your own character back. When performers and their crowd’s feed off each other, the fun ensues.
The best mascot performances include a magical collaboration between brand, performer, costume, character, and crowd. With the right mascot costumes and the right people inside them, these acts achieve wonderful things.