In the runup to Advertising Week, online voting has now begun to elect two brand icons for enshrinement on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame. (There’s a parallel election for favorite ad slogans.) The Week’s site jokes, “You’ve watched the debates, heard the campaign promises, and weighed the issues—oh, wait, that’s a different election.” In fact, though, one can’t help feeling that the brand-icon election would be more exciting if it did include political-style campaign ads, particularly of the negative variety. Wouldn’t you like to see the Keebler Elves denouncing Mr. Goodwrench as a mere technocrat and the Maytag repairman as a do-nothing layabout? Or hear Morris the Cat archly dismissing the Doublemint Twins and the Crash Test Dummies as Tweedle-Dees and Tweedle-Dums? (“I’m Morris, and I approved this message.”) Meanwhile, a competent oppo-research team could no doubt dig up some dirt on Snap, Crackle and/or Pop. Despite voters’ prim claims to the contrary, negative ads are the ones they respond to most strongly in real elections. Surely an ad-icon election should be at least as entertaining as the governmental variety.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver