question Dwight from the office

8 Questions to Ask Before Creating a Brand Mascot

Recently we were asked to share our point of view on developing brand mascots (aka brand characters). Rather than just keep this info in a safe, we thought it could be of use to others out there who may be questioning the same topic.

There’s no simple answer. When used appropriately, brand mascots can be developed into a highly efficient marketing asset. They can:

  • Humanize a brand
  • Amplify emotional connections
  • Drive brand differentiation
  • Be a cue for quick brand recognition

The most successful brand characters – Geico Gecko, Travelocity Gnome, Progressive Flo, Chick fil A Cows – are conceived from a branded creative idea that’s grounded in sound strategy. Without this foundation leading mascot development, your brand mascot will just become a mass cost.

So before investing on a brand mascot ask the following 8 questions:

  1. Is a brand mascot relevant in your brand category?
  2. Does the tone of the brand – based on the category it lives in –allow for a likable brand mascot?
  3. Would a brand mascot support the brand’s core values, consumer benefits and differentiating brand characteristics?
  4. Would a brand mascot support or oppose your target consumers’ mindset when interacting with your category?
  5. Does the brand mascot have longevity?
  6. Can the brand succeed without a brand mascot?
  7. Can brand memorability be cued with the brand logo rather than a brand mascot?
  8. Could a brand mascot overshadow the brand? Would it distract from the brand, its products and service usage?

intrepid powerboat on water

Intrepid Powerboats and Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar Choose EraserFarm

Creative Agency EraserFarm Continues its Streak of Signing Top Clients in Florida Market

Tampa, Fla. (January 2, 2015) – Creative and strategy-based agency, EraserFarm, is proud to announce that it has been selected as agency of record for two Tampa-based brands, Intrepid Powerboats and Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar. The client signings further reinforce the agency’s recent nod by the Business Observer as a company poised for growth in 2015.

As an emerging brand, the recently renamed Carmel Kitchen has quickly made its mark on the casual-dining industry opening locations throughout Florida, and recently one location in the northeast. Since 1983 Intrepid Powerboats has been a leader in their own industry, crafting high-performance powerboats that are uniquely designed for individual owners.

While each client represents very different marketing objectives, they are united by a desire to work with an agency experienced in developing strategic brand positioning and powerful creative, while offering the passion and nimble flexibility that a boutique agency delivers.

“I am excited about the new partnership between EraserFarm and Intrepid Powerboats,” said Intrepid president, Ken Clinton. “One of the many things I took away from my first meeting with EraserFarm’s team was their excellent ability to convey a message, or to tell the story. I believe they are the group to help take us to the next level, to tell our story. I am excited for the future.”

EraserFarm will provide each client with services including strategic and brand planning, social media management and creative development. For Carmel Kitchen, this is a key ingredient in their recipe for successful growth.

“Our extensive experience in successful restaurant and hospitality advertising makes us a perfect partner for Carmel Kitchen,” says Cindy Haynes, Managing Director and Partner of EraserFarm. “It’s an honor to have been selected as the agency who can help deepen brand loyalty, increase brand awareness and drive new trial. We look forward to working with Chris and Alex Sullivan on building the Carmel Kitchen brand.”

About Intrepid Powerboats
Since 1983, Florida-based boat builder, Intrepid Powerboats has been at the forefront of innovation, delivering powerboats that combine performance, comfort and safety in a sleekly designed exterior. Each Intrepid Powerboat is carefully crafted and customized to each customer’s specifications, resulting in a personalized marine craft as unique as the owners themselves. It truly is “One of a Kind. One at a Time.” For more information, visit

About Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar
Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar is a restaurant and wine bar that pairs modern Mediterranean cuisine with the freshest local ingredients to create intriguing and flavorful dishes that guests love. The thoughtfully-prepared menu blends perfectly with an extensive variety of bold wines cultivated from around the globe, hosted in an environment that can only be described as intimate and inviting. Experience the adventurous flavors and everyday hospitality of Carmel Kitchen. For locations or more information, visit

About EraserFarm
EraserFarm is a Tampa-based advertising agency whose mission is to cultivate breakthrough solutions that grow their clients’ business. With a media-agnostic philosophy, the agency specializes in developing big ideas grounded in solid strategy that work across today’s evolving channels. The agency is proud to have client partnerships with organizations such as the North American Soccer League, Kinney Fernandez & Boire P.A. and Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants (S.A.F.E.).

Portrait of eraser farm team

Buzz About EraserFarm Continues to Grow

Several years ago, while working at 22squared, Cindy Haynes and James Rosene used to dream about opening their own shop. But they were young, and not ready to take on the risk.

Last summer, when Rosene brought up the idea again, Haynes knew it was the right time. “We were older and more established and ready to take on the responsibility that owning a business really requires,” she says. At the time, Haynes was the senior vice president of marketing for Front Burner Brands, overseeing creative work for Grillsmith, Burger21 and The Melting Pot. Prior to Front Burner, Haynes was a senior vice president for Tampa’s 22squared. Although he freelanced for a couple years, Rosene was previously a creative director for 22squared, building campaigns for clients that ranged from Publix to Buffalo Wild Wings. Rosene introduced Haynes to Margaret Mariani, who would become the third piece to their puzzle, a brand strategist who had worked with brands such as Audi and Polaris. Together, they decided to start EraserFarm, an agency focused on telling brands’ stories, in October 2013. The trio picked the name because they see erasers not as a symbol of a mistake, but rather as a 
tool to find the best solution.

The three partners each focus on different areas. As managing director, Haynes focuses on heading up accounts from both the client and agency side. A writer by trade, Rosene is creative director, and Mariani is the firm’s brand strategist, helping brands find their voice. Having a well-known lead strategist and lead creative work together on every campaign from pitch to execution is what makes the team stand out, Haynes says. That’s not to say it was easy to go from a fat paycheck to nothing, she admits. They each put in cash of their own and found ways to keep overhead to a minimum. This Christmas, Haynes, Rosene and Mariani are paying themselves their first paychecks.

The agency has taken on a lot of project work to demonstrate its worth, in hopes of eventually becoming that prospect’s agency of record. This year the team is working on a project for Jeff Vinik’s real estate team. “A lot of agencies are afraid to take on projects and not securing a monthly retainer,” Haynes says. “But project work helps you build trust with a client. With projects you dig in the messy dirt and you’re able to make a diamond out of a piece of coal.” Because other agencies are unwilling to tread there, it helps EraserFarm build its reputation, she adds.

EraserFarm also differs from its competitors because it doesn’t want to grow too big, Haynes says. Its strategy includes bringing in partners to do specific work for each campaign, rather than hiring tons of employees in-house. It’s not just about keeping costs down, it’s also about knowing how to leverage expertise from outside experts. “We’ll never have media buying in-house,” Haynes says, “We’re experts at what we know.”

It’s one of the things that Haynes credits for making EraserFarm a better partner than a large agency. A lot of times companies are disappointed when the big wigs from an ad agency pitch the winning strategy, and then put a group of recent college graduates on the team to execute it, Haynes says. With EraserFarm, the big wigs, or Haynes, Rosene and Mariani, will have their hands on all projects throughout the process.

“We thank their previous businesses for what we’ve learned on what to do, and what not to do,” Haynes says.
It’s part of the grueling process of picking up clients, Haynes says. To start, EraserFarm started with people the trio knew. The team scheduled hundreds of meetings. “If I can sit in front of someone, I can start a relationship with them,” Haynes insists.

One of the first leads they got was from a personal injury law firm, Kinney, Fernandez & Boire. Haynes remembers thinking, “Oh gosh, another personal injury firm…yuck.” But after a long discussion with the law firm, they realized it wanted something atypical, which is why it chose EraserFarm. The firm selected EraserFarm as its agency of record and is set to release its first campaign in the first quarter.

The team is working with brands such as Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar, Intrepid Powerboats and the Yankees on campaigns for 2015.

In 2015, the company also plans to continue to build and develop relationships. “You can have a bad campaign or make a mistake with an ad. If you have trust with a client, you can fix it,” Haynes says.

Read more on the Business Observer’s website.

magazine on table

EraserFarm Featured in Archive for S.A.F.E and Dodge Ram

The EraserFarm team is honored to be featured in Lürzer’s Archive.

Lürzer’s Archive has chosen two EraserFarm clients – S.A.F.E. and Dodge – to feature in their publication. Archive puts the focus firmly on the principle of “curatorship of inspiration” presenting only the most interesting new print campaigns, TV commercials and digital designs from all over the world. As an agency that differentiates itself by its hunger to create original, breakthrough advertising that pushes clients further in the black, EraserFarm is proud to be selected by Archive.

Lürzer’s Archive features two EraserFarm clients – Dodge and Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants

paddington bear

What Paddington Teaches Marketers About Emotional Impact

Have you seen the movie Paddington? Go. You’ll be taken on a most excellent emotional roller coaster that will leave you satisfied and fulfilled.

Advertising campaigns should deliver the same experience. Advertising should take you on a wild (yet strategically planned) emotional ride. Just like a roller coaster. You wouldn’t be strapped up to a bucket on wheels going 0 to 75 in under 5 seconds if it were built on pure gut. Take the necessary time to strategically plan your advertising campaign just like a design team carefully plans thrilling rides that safely twist, turn and plunge 22-stories at just the right points.


Now going back to the power of emotion. Did you know that people who aren’t able to feel emotions aren’t able to make decisions? It’s a fact that decisions are emotional, not logical. And for this reason, effective advertising doesn’t appeal to reason. It appeals to emotion. So when you’re developing your next advertising campaign consider the emotions found along the consumer journey. Plot the emotions along the consumer journey continuum, then tailor campaign messaging to play to each of these emotional pivot points. Be a bit more like that movie about the marmalade-loving bear and take your consumers from a state of wonder to a state of love leaving them satisfied, fulfilled and hungry to tell others about their amazing experience.

Paddington illustration by Timothy Nicholson. Tweet him at @IllustrateShire.

Roller coaster napkin drawing by Margaret Mariani. Planner not artist extraordinaire. Tweet her at @mmariani.

kfb law logo

Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, P.A. Selects EraserFarm as New Creative Agency of Record

Tampa, Fla. – (October 6, 2014) Personal injury law firm, Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, P.A. (KFB Law), has recently named EraserFarm as its creative agency of record. EraserFarm, a Tampa-based creative advertising agency, will provide services including strategic and brand planning, social media management and creative development.

“We have worked on behalf of the Tampa Bay community for many years,” said Manny Fernandez. “We were impressed by the energy and fresh perspective brought by EraserFarm, and believe they will showcase our firm in a reinvigorated manner, while remaining true to the reputation we’ve earned over the years.”

“We are incredibly proud to have been selected by Kinney, Fernandez & Boire as their creative agency of record,” added Cindy Haynes, managing director of EraserFarm. “Our team has a strong history of approaching brands differently, allowing us to produce memorable and business-driving creative. Our forward-thinking partners at KFB Law have presented us with a unique opportunity to flip the traditional methods of law advertising on its head.”

KFB Law and EraserFarm will also work in partnership with Eckley Media for all public relations efforts.

About Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, P.A.

Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, P.A. is a leading personal injury law firm with offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Wesley Chapel and Plant City. For over 25 years, the firm’s team of civil trial lawyers has been dedicated to serving their clients’ best interests while protecting their constitutional rights.

About EraserFarm

EraserFarm is a Tampa-based advertising agency whose mission is to cultivate breakthrough solutions that grow their clients’ business. With a media-agnostic philosophy, the agency specializes in developing big ideas grounded in solid strategy that work across today’s evolving channels. The agency is proud to have client partnerships with organizations such as the North American Soccer League, Kinney Fernandez & Boire P.A. and Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants (S.A.F.E.).

elephants around water hole

EraserFarm Featured in Communication Arts for Campaign to Save African Elephants

Did you know that Africa’s Elephants are on the verge of extinction? If poaching continues at a rate of 35,000 a year, African Elephants will be extinct in as little as 11 years. In the last 50 years alone, have depleted the elephant population in Africa by 90%.

For this reason, we’re excited for the recognition and additional attention our work for a worthy cause, Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants (S.A.F.E.), has generated. Thank you Communication Arts for featured EraserFarm’s work this great client and cause.

CommunicationArts features work from Florida ad agency EraserFarm

The S.A.F.E. Campaign, a new initiative from The Bodhi Tree Foundation, is dedicated to galvanizing and uniting the tourism industry and travelers to help end the dramatic rise in poaching of Africa’s elephants.

nasl soccer ball

North American Soccer League Develops Brand with Tampa Agency

The North American Soccer League — the men’s professional soccer league that includes the Tampa Bay Rowdies — has enlisted EraserFarm, a newly formed Tampa advertising agency, to help establish its brand.

As NASL’s agency of record, EraserFarm wants to make the New York City-based sports organization as recognizable as its 10 soccer teams, said Managing Director Cindy Haynes.

“A lot of people know the teams in the league and they want to support that community feeling,” Haynes said. “We want to create something where NASL is as known to consumers as the teams themselves.”

Haynes, James Rosene and Margaret Mariani — all former employees of 22squared — founded the creative advertising and strategy agency earlier this year. Haynes most recently was senior vice president of marketing for Front Burner Brands, the Tampa-based parent company of The Melting Pot, GrillSmith and Burger 21.

EraserFarm provides strategic, digital, design and social media services. In addition to NASL, its initial client roster includes PowerStories Theatre in Tampa, Scarlett Begonias Coffee Roasters in the Miami area and Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants, a nonprofit campaign based in New York City.

Connectivity Marketing of St. Petersburg provides media buying and planning services for NASL.

– Featured in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Written by Margaret Cashill.

Eraser farm logo mockup

Top Marketing and Ad Executives Join Forces to Launch New Creative Agency in Tampa Bay

Three of Tampa’s top marketing and advertising professionals, James Rosene, Margaret Mariani and Cindy Haynes, have united to cultivate new brand strategies with the launch of EraserFarm, a creative and strategy based advertising agency located in Tampa. “We’re excited that we’re all finally in a place in our lives to go for it and make this venture a full-time focus,” said Cindy Haynes, managing director of EraserFarm. “Our varied backgrounds and diverse client base will enrich the services we are able to offer companies as we strive to be the game changer they need and help them grow. There is an opportunity in the market, and we hope to bridge that gap.”

James Rosene, creative director and partner, hails from previous experiences with DDB, Temerlin and 22squared. Along the way, he built award-winning brand campaigns for clients such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Lincoln Financial Group, Publix Supermarkets, The Tampa Bay Lightning, Toyota, PODS and Celebrity Cruises. He has received recognition for his work with The Effies, Communication Arts and The One Club for Art and Copy.

Margaret Mariani, brand strategist and partner, worked at top agencies such as McKinney, The Martin Agency, GSD&M and 22squared. She helped brands like AT&T, Audi, SONY, Land’s End and L.L.Bean grow market share while building meaningful relationships with consumers. She has extensive experience in brand positioning, consumer dimensionalization and engagement planning. As an advocate of the consumer, she is passionate about helping brands find relevance in this increasingly cluttered world.

With over 25 years of leadership across retail, integrated advertising and marketing platforms, Cindy Haynes, managing director and partner, is the former senior vice president of marketing for Front Burner Brands, restaurant management company for The Melting Pot (national fondue franchise), Burger 21 (fast casual burger franchise) and GrillSmith (regional full-service concept). Prior to joining Front Burner Brands, she was a senior vice president at 22squared where she managed clients including Shoe Carnival and Publix Supermarkets by developing branding, traffic and sales-driving campaigns. Haynes also managed accounts such as McDonald’s, Dollar Rent-A-Car and Melitta by creating custom promotions and programs that transitioned national advertising into local store marketing.

EraserFarm clients include the North American Soccer League, PowerStories Theatre, Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants (SAFE) and Scarlett Begonias Coffee Roasters. For more information about EraserFarm and its services, visit

About EraserFarm EraserFarm is a modern creative advertising agency headquartered in Tampa, Fla., that produces game-changing work to help companies grow. Through its strategic, digital, design and social disciplines, EraserFarm offers a variety of innovation-driven amenities to provide a strong return for clients.

Featured in the Tampa Bay Newswire