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In a new twist on an age-old advertising tactic, Domino’s has resurrected its villainous cartoon mascot, The Noid, from the depths of the 1980s. While advertising mascots may seem like a relic from a bygone era, many are still “alive” and well. And in a recent survey conducted on behalf of Ad Age, The Harris Poll found these characters are still quite popular with consumers.

Read on for key findings from the survey: 

On the whole, consumers enjoy advertising mascots. And while younger consumers are more likely to see them as outdated, they actually enjoy them the most — indicating an opportunity for brands to spotlight these characters more prominently and/or bring them out of retirement.

  • 79% of consumers overall say they enjoy seeing brands use mascots.
  • 42% of Gen Zers see the practice as outdated — but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the practice. In fact, they were the most likely to report enjoying brands’ mascots (86%). 

There’s a clear nostalgia factor — a good sign for Noid. Most consumers say they liked the mascots popular during their childhoods vs. the ones they see today.

  • 69% of consumers overall agree with this statement. 
  • Gen Xers were most likely to feel this way at 72%. 

Only 41% of consumers were aware of The Noid before taking the survey — naturally, older consumers (Gen Xers and boomers) are more likely to recall the mascot.

  • Gen Xers (at 52%) were most likely to recall the character, followed by millennials (46%)

Millennials are most likely to have a favorite mascot (58% do), and overall, almost half of consumers say they have a favorite — indicating an affinity that could extend to their feelings of the brand. 

  • 47% of consumers overall report having a favorite.

Consumers were most likely to recall Mr. Peanut — likely due to his high-profile “death” early last year — and these folks were also highly invested in the ad mascot making a return.

  • 89% of consumers recall Mr. Peanut
  • And 81% said they’d be interested in seeing Mr. Peanut return

Only 24% were aware that Domino’s recently brought back The Noid — but it’s had some marginal impact on their opinion of the brand. This was especially true among millennial consumers.

  • 27% of consumers overall say they hold a more positive view of Domino’s given the return of The Noid (68% said no change in opinion). 
  • 39% of millennials said they have a better opinion of Domino’s after hearing of their decision to bring back The Noid. 

Fortunately for Domino’s, The Noid’s troubled past has largely faded from public memory.

  • Only 14% remember the 1980s hostage situation that precipitated The Noid’s eventual demise. 
  • Millennials — many of whom would have been children at the time — were the most likely to report remembering the incident (27% did). 

When prompted on which retired mascots they would most like to see return, consumers mostly named mascots that haven’t been officially retired — with Tony The Tiger being by far the most frequent choice. This indicates an opportunity for these brands to feature their mascots – who have been largely relegated to packaging and social media – more prominently in current ads and brand communications.

  • Other popular choices included Kool-Aid Man (still active), Pillsbury Doughboy (still active) and Ronald McDonald (still active). 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll between April April 27-29, 2021, among 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For more information on methodology, please contact Dami Rosanwo.

Download the full data tables here. 


Author lucas

Lucas Strombeck manages public relations for The Harris Poll and its brand tracking software, Harris Poll Brand Platform. Drawing on his extensive background in data-driven storytelling, he works closely with Harris Poll researchers and media partners to connect the dots between consumer insights, market trends and headline news. Before joining The Harris Poll, Lucas was a senior manager at Walker Sands, where he led PR strategy for fast-growing B2B tech startups and SaaS companies -- primarily in the martech and ad tech space. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

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