From the Jolly Green Giant and Ronald McDonald, to Mr. Clean, Tony The Tiger, Colonel Sanders and the Energizer Bunny, advertising history is full of iconic brand mascots who have won the hearts of consumers, transcended the screen and – in some cases – become brands in their own right. But in recent years, few truly memorable new faces have joined their ranks.
Web hosting and cloud provider IONOS, which is founded in Germany, is aiming to reinvigorate the concept of beloved brand characters with an inimitable new heroine: Aunt Helga. A model of Teutonic efficiency, the small but mighty character is introduced in the new ‘I own this’ campaign and is instantly memorable for her silver skyscraper hairstyle, jet-propelled heels, furiously fast fingers, and no-nonsense attitude.
Branding agency NOMAD, creative production studio Armoury London and advertising agency 2050 London joined forces to create the Aunt Helga character as part of the pitch process for IONOS’ first UK campaign. In a departure from the traditional agency model of working, the team took a nimble and collaborative approach by bringing together creative and craft elements around one table – allowing them to develop the campaign and its hero character within the first round.
‘I own this’ is led by an entertaining 40-second TV commercial directed by Marc Sidelsky through Armoury London, which introduces the indomitable Aunt Helga and her mission to revolutionise web services for small businesses. Arriving on a typical British high street through a futuristic portal, with not a hair out of place on her towering beehive, she marches up to a local knitwear shop. Her power heels levitate her through the door where, to the owners’ astonishment and delight, she proceeds to transform their less than impressive website in seconds with her trademark catchphrase: ‘Relax darlings…I own this!’
The spot playfully trades on the ‘I own this/IONOS’ line, reaffirming Helga’s – and by extension IONOS’ – position as owning the web-related problems and design issues that can undermine even the very best new businesses and start-ups. The underlying message, a mainstay of the digital messaging and social media campaign, is that small business owners, having been empowered by IONOS to take control of their website, ‘own’ the running of their business, and can gain an advantage over the competition simply by leveraging Aunt Helga’s no-nonsense, globally respected German know-how.