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MASCOT THROW-DOWN: Can Charlie Join Wally and Pat the Patriot as Symbols of Boston?

This week the MBTA debuted its own mascot. Have you seen it? Will "Charlie" join the pantheon of Wally the Green Monster and Pat the Patriot?

It's fair to say the MBTA doesn't have a cute and cuddly image. But the transit agency tried softening its public persona this week with the debut of Charlie — a plush mascot.

He's modeled, of course, on the famed character from the song "Charlie on the MTA," who couldn't afford a fare hike and was doomed to ride the rails forever.

This week he came to life as a $5,000 fedora-wearing suited commuter. The cost of the suit was underwritten by Mass Bay Credit Union, according to the Globe.

Charlie will be seen at events around Boston. Can he become as much a symbol of Boston as Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster or the Patriots' Pat the Patriot?    

Mouthy August 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The Charlie branding by the MBTA is STUPID! He's modelled on a white male in a hat and suite appering as if from the 1950's. White males are not the majority train riders! Further I have lived here all my life, born in the 50's and I have never, not once heard the song that the brand image references! I think the demographic of the T is very different than who this image could have appealed to about 40 years ago! The concept in 3-D is a waste of effort and money! It is ill convieved and whoever was paid a few years back for this campaign should be de-ridded. The fact remains, the public will use the T only when it can guarantee efficiency--getting people where they need to be and on time! Cut it with the cutesie crap, the half-assed branding attempts ( you are the MBTA, the T-that is all the branding you need) Stop spending money that you are paying to ad firms and your PR folks to come-up with these douche ideas like naming rights for stations--they have names which represent geographic locations, adding the names of people or corporate entities to stations would only confuse! The T needs to run an operation that works for the public, no amount of branding hoodwinking can make us believe that it is a good product that operates on behalf of the public to transport them in a timely and reliable and safe way! WAKE UP T- get people where they need to be, stop harkening back to some quaint old time via the notion of CHARLIE! Get modern, get real,
Just a person! August 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM
5,000 for a costume! Another item for "ridiculous.com" I thought the T was having money problems?????
Matt M. Casey (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I think the younger generation is more aware of Charlie on the MTA than you might thing. The Dropkick Murphys—those musical miners of local history—started doing a spoof of the song 10-15 years ago, and, the last time I was at Fenway, the park played the song before the game.
Mouthy August 29, 2012 at 01:35 PM
None the less Matt, the song is an old one, the sentiment an old one, the Charlie guy white, dressed in 50's garb. The re-make of a song has a select audience. It is irrelevant as a marketing tool. Ride the T, at least the subway, look around--who is riding--those out of necessity, students, workers, 2nd shift hospital workers, janitors, clerks, secretaries, all who can barely affort to ride let alone afford a car and parking in Boston. They don't need to market, they have a captive audience. The white collar workers who vascilate whether to drive or ride could care less about Charlie. They want to know can they get where they need to get ON TIME. That is the major complaint. I live exactly on the T Orange Line. I won't use it because it is completly unreliable. The stations are substandard and filthy, the ignorant employees are barely intelligible over loud speakers dispensing their information. The T is a PR and management quagmire for the State and its ongoing mismanagement a long-standing joke.
Mouthie August 30, 2012 at 01:38 AM
It's also kind of creepy that the new mascot kind of looks like Mitt Romney--Interesting that this would be launched at this particular time--just as the campaign is cooking-up and given that the Charlie Card and use of the song were so embrased by the then Governor Romney! Gimicks are for suckers and the vast majority of the population can't see beneath the surface. The T is so concerned about security and fare dodgers, isn't it time for the public to exclaim their frustration and exasperation for the decades old ineptitude of the T Management and local govermnemts complicity in a piss-poor system?!! as the song goes: When he got there the conductor told him, "One more nickel." Charlie could not get off that train. That's right citizens, keep paying those increases for a system that essentially does not improve, has a history of running it self into the ground, only fixing what defered maintenance issues it absolutely must or that can not guarantee your timely arrival anywhere, anytime and in any decade! Hey CTown, how about those wildly uneven stairs at the CC station, really nice to negotiate those cobbled together public saftey hazards that pass as stairs. How about the Charlie cards that were unavailable for 2 months because they, "ran out!" How about the chronically unattended CC station? Wake-up! The power is yours!

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