Abid Hussain Barlaskar
Advertising

realme’s new superhero cat mascot ‘realmeow’ is aimed at enticing Gen Z

Crafted by realme Design Studio and top Pixar creator Mark A. Walsh, realmeow flies, runs fast and blasts laser from its eyes.

Smartphone brand realme’s new mascot ‘the realmeow’ is a superhero. This cat can run fast like Sonic, fly like Superman and shoot laser beams from his eyes, like Cyclops (from X-Men). This new ‘chief trendsetting officer’ of the brand also has the swag quotient of a tom cat.

Wait, let’s not get carried away.

realmeow is the result of a collaboration between top Pixar animator, Mark A. Walsh, (who has worked on Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.) and the in-house realme Design Studio.

realme’s new superhero cat mascot ‘realmeow’ is aimed at enticing Gen Z

But why a cat? Cats are cool, but still… Amlan Pati, digital director, realme India tells afaqs! that the core design for realmeow has been drawn from a cat because of the animal’s ‘bold and fearless’ nature. This was then accessorised with street-style design to showcase youth oriented culture.

Pati tells us that realmeow is aimed at reflecting the ‘diversified personality’ of Gen-Z, a core TG for the brand. “Inspired by the cat, the realmeow supports a bold, street-style design and showcases independent, fearless and agile personality…” that was also matched with realme’s brand tagline ‘Dare to Leap’.

He describes realmeow as an “18-year old independent character who is living life on his own terms, is agile, voguish and forever young...”

realme started out as an underdog brand in the Indian smartphone scene in Q2 of 2018. The brand made it to the list of top five brands in Q4 the same (calendar) year. It occupied the fourth spot with a 15 per cent market share in Q3, 2020.

Smartphones is an extremely value and price sensitive category – best value plus best price is the open secret to success. It is so competitive that players often find it hard to differentiate and every bit of ‘newness’ is exploited to stand out. Highlighting the features alone isn’t enough and it has to be supplemented with brand experiences.

realmeow
realmeow

In June last year, when we interviewed then realme India CEO Madhav Sheth (currently CEO, realme India and Europe), he told us that his brand’s success was driven not by fancy marketing but a basic combination of product experience and updated design across price segments.

Cut to today, while the mantra is still the same, the mascot could be a result of realme’s quest for ‘newness’. “We have always strived to integrate latest technology and designs, as well as the fashion culture to products for our young, fashionable and super cool consumers. realmeow is another step in that journey,” says Pati.

Amlan Pati
Amlan Pati

He mentions that the Indian smartphone segment is fairly evolved with a number of brands actively vying for market share. This makes it more important for realme to bolster its brand identity. More so, since most brands in the space boast a strong user community backing.

“The segment caters to users who have a varied set of preferences in terms of technology, pricing, design, etc. It is very important that they think of realme as the go-to brand, while thinking of buying a smartphone for specific requirements. realmeow will help us strengthen brand identity while also reinforcing top-of-mind awareness among our users.”

realmeow will be an integral part of realme’s upcoming communication and messaging across platforms, and will be used to create a ‘cultural identity’ for the community and fans. The brand has already released teasers to what look like short brand films with the mascot as the core hero character.

We asked about the role of a mascot in hyperfast marketing, a key trend in smartphone outreach. The propositions, themes, stories, strategies keep changing with the frequent launches of newer models and advertising is mostly executed as individual projects. On the other hand, mascots are generally long term brand-building efforts that need regular integration and investment.

For example, Samsung recently tried out Mo-B, a green monster mascot for the launch of its model Galaxy M51. The mascot coupled with the tag ‘Meanest Monster Ever’ highlighted the new model’s features. Mo-B seemed to be only a short term initiative representing a particular model instead of pulling the Samsung brand.

Samsung's Mo-B
Samsung's Mo-B

We have seen longer term engagements too. realme’s BBK cousins Vivo and Oppo have their mascots Little V and Ollie respectively. Inflatables of both Little V and Ollie were often seen fighting each other offline near mobile stores to draw eyeballs. The Ollie character doubles up as Oppo’s chatbot. But both aren’t often seen in the brands’ communications.

Pati explains that a mascot is tasked with helping the organisation build a brand identity and consumer connect. “It is largely used to personify the brand, and is sculpted in a way that consumers are reminded of the brand the moment they see it. realmeow symbolises the spirit of our brand, and will enable us to further strengthen our position of ‘tech trendsetter’ and stand out.”

He further mentions that as part of realme’s communication, the brand will invest time and effort to create engagement between realmeow and young consumers. “We believe this will bear fruit and help us grow as a brand,” Pati signs off.