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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 8, August 2012, Posted On: 7/11/2012

Chuck E. Cheese Gets Hipster Makeover

Marcus Webb
CEC Entertainment, Chuck E. Cheese's, CEC mascot, Chuck E. Cheese update, amusement marketing, arcade business, children's fun center, video game, redemption game

Chuck E. Cheese's New Mascot

IRVING, TX -- CEC Entertainment Inc., owner of the Chuck E. Cheese's chain of restaurant-arcades, has updated its eponymous mascot in an effort to strengthen its appeal to contemporary children and their parents.

A national advertising campaign launched on July 5 featuring the madeover Chuck E. Cheese character. The campaign includes Facebook promotions and four nationally televised spots. | SEE VIDEO

Visually, the latest incarnation of the CEC spokesrodent has been redesigned for a sleeker, slightly edgier appearance. Chuck E. Cheese has been transformed into a cheerful, electric guitar-playing rocker with a bit more mischievous attitude... and no baseball cap.

The Los Angeles Times noted that the character now somewhat resembles Basil, the protagonist of Disney's 1986 animated feature "The Great Mouse Detective."

Since an animatronic version of the character is the lead performer in a robotic music revue at Chuck E. Cheese's locations, presumably the new robots are being installed at all 558 CEC locations.

As part of the current makeover, CEC's ad agency has replaced Duncan Brennan, the singer who provided the voice for the animatronic robot rodent for the past 19 years. The character's new vocals are being provided by Jaret Reddick, lead singer of the band "Bowling for Soup."

The July 5 rebirth of Chuck E. Cheese is hardly the first metamorphosis for the character. Chuck has been slowly evolving during the company's 35-year history.

Originally a cigar-chomping New Jersey rat who sported a derby bowler hat and cane, by the 1980s Chuck had morphed into an overgrown rodent of indeterminate species, attired in a cartoonish tuxedo and baseball cap.

In 1993 the mascot was reconfigured as a friendly, chubby-cheeked, very young and childlike mouse (not a rat), keeping the baseball cap but ditching the tux in favor of a t-shirt. The result was a more family-friendly, nonthreatening image.

As noted earlier by VT, CEC reported in May that sales in its comparable stores chain-wide fell 4.2% on average in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same period last year. CEC also forecast lower earnings for the balance of this year. | SEE STORY

The remake of its mascot is part of a continuing campaign of improvements undertaken during CEC's 35th anniversary year. | SEE STORY

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