Those cult figures, ranging from GEICO's Caveman to Bob of Bob's Discount Furniture, are branding killer apps. Always have been. Would Perdue be the brandname it is if its Chief hadn't looked just like a chicken?
Those cult figures work so well on our minds and hearts because they're flawed folks. Caveman is over-sensitive. Bob is over-zealous to the point of goofy. Perdue could have afforded to not look like a chicken. America becomes fascinated and falls in love with these anti-heroes.
Caveman will be part of SuperBowl Sunday. But he's so well-known that GEICO can take the risk of putting him on the tube much earlier than the game. You can bet those who see him will remember him.
But launching a cult figure ain't easy. The fit and the timing have to be perfect. On "Boston Legal," they might have attempted to position Denny Crane aka Mad Cow as the Bob of the legal world. No go. He strikes us as stuck, a pest, a voice crying out for cognitive therapy. My hunch is that now they're trying the same tactic with the midget Bethany, who is an attorney and back dating Crane after Crane dumped the midget's mother Bella. The jury will be out on that one for a while yet. but it does have possibility.