The evolution of Sleepy Bear
Sleepy Bear has been Travelodge’s mascot since 1955, but his appearance has changed over the years. At left, is the original Sleepy Bear, then Sleepy Bear in the 1960s and 1970s, centre is the mascot used up until the recent Wyndham Group Conference, where the latest Sleepy Bear (right) made his debut.
LAS VEGAS—A brand new Sleepy Bear made his debut at the Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference in Las Vegas April 3, as the Travelodge brand announced a new marketing campaign centred around the beloved mascot as well as the brand’s new sponsorship of National Geographic and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Freshly animated Sleepy Bear built on the idea that adventure is for everyone—the “Stay Close to Adventure” campaign positions the Travelodge brand and its hotels as the ideal choice for travellers who look to get the most out of their travels and their budget.
“He still has his chubby cheeks—he’s not completely different,” said Rui Barros, Wyndham’s brand senior vice president responsible for the Travelodge brand. “We wanted to contemporize him, create the idea of adventure. We said, let’s wake him up. The design is like the one used in the Ice Age movies. We wanted to be able to [computer] animate him, because that’s how we’re going to use him.
Created in 1955, the Sleepy Bear mascot has been an integral part of the Travelodge brand for more than 50 years. In his newest form, he’s computer animated, designed to look more energetic (thanks to a great night’s rest) and ready for adventure. Gone are the “ready for sleep” eyes and bedtime attire and in their place, big friendly eyes and a sporty blue vest.
Sleepy Bear will have a presence in the brand’s TV commercials, print advertising, online ad placements and on property. Consumers will start to see elements of the new campaign starting this month.
“The new commercial is pretty funny—there’s a young lady packing her bag—practically elbow-wrestling to get it done,” says Barros.
The brand also announced a one-year sponsorship of National Geographic and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, resulting in the creation of the brand’s “Zoocation” promotion, scheduled to launch this summer in the U.S and Canada.
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