Matt Damon who? Pac-Man, Mario are the heroes: survey

Originally published in Reuters Life!, May 16, 2008

Pac Man

Move over, Matt Damon: a survey has found that videogame characters Mario and Pac-Man are the real heroes for many U.S. consumers.

Mario, the short, overall-wearing character of Nintendo's video games, holds more appeal than celebrities such as actors Damon and Ashley Judd, and basketball star Michael Jordan, according to the Davie Brown Celebrity Index (DBI).

And Pac-Man, the ghost-battling, dot-gobbling hero of the popular arcade game, is recognized by 94 percent of U.S. consumers, more than celebrity heavyweights such as Ben Affleck, Dolly Parton and Jamie Foxx.

The independent index (http://www.dbireport.com/) uses consumer surveys to rank more than 1,600 celebrities across several categories including their popularity and appeal.

It recently added a dozen video game characters, including Mario, Pac-Man, Lara Croft, Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog.

"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 which 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," he said in a statement.

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.


Copyright © 2008 Davie Brown Entertainment

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