DALLAS, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to celebrities, consumers love Tom Hanks, Will Smith, and ... Mario?
According to the Davie Brown Celebrity Index (or DBI), the video game character -- best known for his red cap, white gloves, blue overalls, and handlebar mustache -- scores higher in terms of appeal than popular celebrities like Matt Damon, Ashley Judd, Michael Jordan, and Robert Redford.
The DBI (http://www.dbireport.com), an independent index that uses consumer surveys to score more than 1600 celebrities across eight attributes, is used by brands to evaluate potential product spokespeople.
Recently, the DBI added to its database a dozen video game characters, including Mario, Pac-Man, Lara Croft, Donkey Kong, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Link.
In terms of awareness, Pac-Man is the best-known video game character, recognized by 94 percent of U.S. consumers, more than celebrity heavyweights such as Ben Affleck, Dolly Parton, and Jamie Foxx.
"Mario's appeal is not unlike the appeal of Tom Hanks or Will Smith," said Bill Glenn, vice president of insights and analytics for Davie Brown Entertainment, a marketing firm that created the DBI. "He's a charming, good-natured guy. And, like Hanks, he's been with us for 25 years, so he's familiar to us. For celebrity endorsers, these are critical factors in driving consumer preference."
Mario ranks close behind Pac-Man in awareness, recognized by 93 percent of U.S. consumers, according to the DBI. Among the characters tested by the DBI, Pac-Man also posted the second-highest score in "appeal." Ryu Hayabusa, from the action-adventure game "Ninja Gaiden," ranked third in "appeal" among the characters.
Chris Anderson | Davie Brown Entertainment