NEW YORK The Jolly Green Giant, Ronald McDonald, the Energizer Bunny, Mr. Peanut and dozens of other advertising icons are being enlisted for a purpose other than to sell the products they were created for: to boost the image of the ad industry for next September's first official Advertising Week.
Advertising Week is the brainchild of Ken Kaess, president and CEO of DDB Worldwide, in his role as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The event is designed to highlight the economic impact and the creative legacy of the ad business in New York, he said at a press conference held at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York.
Slated for Sept. 20-24, Advertising Week will offer exhibits in Grand Central Station, a parade of ad icons, seminars, a vote on America's favorite ads and an awards presentation. Yahoo! and ESPN are among the sponsors assembled by the 4A's.
"There's three different constituencies that were involved in the creation of Advertising Week: the public, New York City and the industry itself, including its clients," Kaess said. "Our purpose is to increase the value of advertising in two different ways. One is more scientific and involves econometric modeling. The second group, which [DDB New York chief marketing officer] Abigail Hirschorn ran as a task force, was more the public relations emphasis, which asked how do we increase the value from a public perception standpoint. The main goal is to make advertising cool again and it just sort of evolved into this celebration."
In addition to the 4A's, 20 other industry groups will participate, including the Association of National Advertisers, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and The One Club.
"The idea of bringing all these groups together is to celebrate all the creativity and excitement that we all do every day for a living, and it's a realization that somehow advertising has lost its significance to a lot of people," said Ron Berger, chief executive of Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners and vice chairman of the 4A's as well as Advertising Week. "It's a great opportunity for our industry to come together and have a lot of fun and talk about business while creating something of substance that will endure for many years to come."