|The police department barred the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales from leading the Advertising Week parade through Times Square.
The procession that was to kick off the second annual Advertising Week was more of a sprint than a parade. Event organizers hoped to create a visual spectacle in the heart of New York's outdoor ad spectacle that would wow the throngs of tourists, businesspeople and passers-by about advertising’s impact and benefits and simply spread around good cheer.
Thumbs down on horses
But the Budweiser Clydesdales, slated for months to lead the procession, didn’t show up, nixed, said event organizers, by the NYPD. Instead, O. Burtch Drake, president-CEO of Advertising Week and president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and a number of ad characters from the Geico Gecko to the Doublemint Twins, grabbed seats in convertibles and sped through Times Square so fast they left members of street teams hired to hand out goodies to parade watchers in the dust. (Mr. Drake graciously shared his ride over with an M&M’s spokescharacter.)
Those among Advertising Week’s who’s-who who hadn’t thumbed a ride with an icon in a convertible got to 437 Madison Ave. -- DDB Worldwide’s headquarters -- via the Greyline bus line, which lent two of its double-decker tour buses to ferry attendees from Times Square. Organizers set up microphones and camera crews in front of the Midtown office building to announce the names of the five finalists in the "best icon" and "best slogan" competitions as well as the creation of an Advertising Icon Museum, set to open in late 2007 in Kansas City, Mo.
Finalist Icons named
The five finalists are: the Doublemint Twins, the Energizer Bunny, the Geico Gecko, Juan Valdez and the Budweiser Clydesdales. The five slogan finalists are: Nike’s "Just do it"; Hallmark’s "When you care enough to send the very best"; the United States Postal Service's "We deliver for you"; Las Vegas’ "What happens here, stays here"; and General Electric Co.’s "Imagination at Work." Winners in both categories will be announced tomorrow.
On the sidewalk in front of DDB's HQ, agency CEO Ken Kaess, who is also co-chair of Advertising Week, milled about with about 50 DDB staffers; a host of public relations types; Barbara Rubin, a lawyer who flew in from Los angeles to root for clients Natalie and Nicole Garza, the Doublemint Twins; and Conchita, Juan Valdez's mule and her handler.