Ad Walk of Fame Unveils Finalists

NEW YORK Are the California Raisins still remembered fondly? Is Tony the Tiger still a roaring success with consumers? Or has the Aflac duck won their affection? Do they still remember that “a diamond is forever”? Or is “Got milk?” the catchphrase recalled most often?

These and more than a score of other legendary ad icons and slogans, 26 of each, are the finalists for the first Advertising Walk of Fame, to be unveiled on the corner of 50th Street and Madison Avenue when the 4A’s Advertising Week in New York kicks off on Sept. 20.

Consumers will choose their favorites from old standbys like Mr. Clean and the Coppertone Girl to more recent icons such as the Energizer Bunny, and slogans ranging from the old school (“Look Ma, no cavities”) to the contemporary (“Whassup?”) to be immortalized in Manhattan cement.

“The American public will determine who goes on the sidewalk,” said Matt Scheckner, executive director of Advertising Week, a weeklong celebration of the business that includes four exhibits at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall and the first Advertising Awards for Excellence, and is supported by more than 20 ad and marketing associations. “The original idea was to have legendary ad executives, but consistent with the objective of the week to elevate the business to a broader constituency, the idea evolved.” He added that, by coincidence, the site chosen for the Walk is in front of the offices of DDB, one of only three agencies along with Young & Rubicam and TBWA\Chiat\Day still housed on the famous street.

The icons contesting for a place on the Walk include: California Raisins, Coppertone Girl, Charlie the Tuna, Energizer Bunny, Keebler Elves, Aflac Duck, Ronald McDonald, Juan Valdez, Chiquita Banana, Master Lock, Kool-Aid Pitcher, Merrill-Lynch Bull, Mr. Clean, Tony the Tiger, Jolly Green Giant, Pillsbury Doughboy, Trix Rabbit, McGruff Crime Dog, Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Morton Salt Girl, Mr. Peanut, Seat Belt Dummies, M&M Characters, Wise Owl, Smokey Bear and Michelin Man.

The slogans slugging it out for a seat on the street include: “A diamond is forever” (DeBeers); “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” (United Negro College Fund); “Be all you can be” (U.S. Army); “Don’t leave home without it” (American Express); “Fly the friendly skies” (United Airlines); “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” (U.S. Dept. of Transportation); “Got milk?” (California Milk Processor Board); “It takes a lickin’, but it keeps on tickin'” (Timex); “Just do it” (Nike); “Let your fingers do the walking” (Yellow Pages); “Look Ma, no cavities” (Crest); “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” (M&M’s); “Reach out and touch someone” (AT&T); “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t” (Almond Joy/Mounds); “Tastes great, less filling” (Miller); “Think different” (Apple); “Time to make the doughnuts” (Dunkin’ Donuts); “Whassup?” (Budweiser); “We try harder” (Avis); “When you care enough to send the very best” (Hallmark Cards); “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s); “You deserve a break today!” (McDonald’s); “You’ve come a long way, baby” (Virgina Slims); “Can you hear me now?” (Verizon Wireless); “The ultimate driving machine” (BMW); and “We bring good things to life” (General Electric).

Consumers can vote for their candidates beginning June 14 on a dedicated Yahoo! microsite (Yahoo! will also tabulate the results) and on, with promotional support from USA Today that includes “digital trading cards” of the contenders created by Miami’s Digital Allegiance. The finalists will also appear on the Reuters videoboard in Times Square. The top five icons and top five slogans will make up the inaugural Walk of Fame.