Monday, October 9, 2017

131. Brand Icons: SUSTAGEN’S SUSY AND GENO, 1985

The adorable duo that drove Filipino kids to pester their mothers to buy cans and cans of Sustagen came to life in 1985. SUSY AND GENO were the marketing brainchildren of Mead Johnson, the company behind the nutrition supplement , Sustagen. Mr. Chichi Barros, Consumer Products Director for Marketing conceived the idea of having a tandem of adorable mascots who will epitomize the values of parents and children alike.

Sustagen, with its “23 Resistensya Builders”was, undoubtedly, a superior chocolate-flavored health supplement, but it looked and felt so serious to most kids. 

The mascots were the perfect answers to make the premium brand more relatable. SUSY was designed as a young girl with lots of charming personality, a perfect complement to the friendly, wholesome GENO.

The SUSY AND GENO tandem,  both embodiments of happy, healthy children, turned Sustagen as the no. 1 selling milk in the 80s decade. SUSY AND GENO not only appeared in countlessTV ads, but also went on school and supermarket  tours to perform, dance, sing and promote the health benefits of the brand.


The brand mascots were the stars of their own Sustagen’s Kiddie Club, that had over 45,000 members at its peak. They went around the Philippines—attended town fiestas,  visited classrooms, hosted week-end gatherings, led puppet-making workshops,  and received countless invitations to grace birthday parties! Wherever they went, SUSY AND GENO spread the message of good health together with Mead Johnson’s professional nutritionists who often accompanied them on tours.

The high cost of mounting these activities forced their temporary retirement,  but by late 1990s, SUSY AND GENO staged a comeback. In 2013, SUSY AND GENO were seen again as adult mascots, leading separate lives and careers. This generated some interest on facebook, where the drama of their reunion played out.

SUSY AND GENO are often held up as perfect examples of the effective use of mascots in marketing promotions and communications—especially to kids who have to grapple with abstract ideas such as health, nutrition and friendship. The brand mascots have succeeded in explaining these in fun, engaging ways that allow kids to learn without losing their sense of wonder.


Susy & Geno Photo: De la Torre, Visitacion. Advertising in the Philippines: Its Historical, Cultural and Social Dimensions. Tower Book House, 1989. P. 102.
youtube: Sustagen Con Yelo,, uploaded by Want Promo, publihsed 12 Feb. 2010
youtube: Susy and Geno (A Case Study):,, published by Ace-Saatchi & Saatchi-PH, Aug. 13, 2014


  1. What about Jollibee and friends? They're also great examples of using mascots effectively in communications.