This year the Chuck E. Cheese mascot received a makeover. Unfortunately for the restaurant chain, owned by CEC Entertainment (NYSE:CEC), the refreshed Chuck E. isn’t as popular as his former self.
A survey conducted by E-Poll Market Research found that 28% of respondents were less aware of the slimmed-down rodent, who now sports a guitar, while 9% found him less appealing than his previous incarnation, Restaurant News noted.
Shares of CEC Entertainment fell more than 2% in Friday afternoon trading.
Chuck E.’s updated image was part of a new parent-focused marketing strategy that the company intiated in July. Scott McDaniel, chief marketing officer for CEC, said defended the changes to the character, saying that the chain’s internal customer feedback indicated a “positive response” to the new Chuck E.
However, the E-Poll survey revealed that among children between the ages of six and seven, 57% said they liked the old Chuck E., compared to 48% for the refreshed version. Among mothers, 26% said they liked the old character, while 24% indicated that they liked the new one.
As it shifted toward parent-responsive marketing this year, CEC spent more on radio and online advertising and less on TV ads. The president of E-Poll noted that the new Chuck E.’s popularity could rise if CEC spent more on media promotion of the new image.