Favorite Brand Icon Vote Kicks Off in Times Square

Consumers Nationwide to Select This Year's Advertising Week Favorites

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Colonel Sanders wants you ... to vote for him to be the Advertising Walk of Fame Icon of the Year. He and other advertising spokescharacters such as Chester Cheetah, the Kool-Aid Man and Mr. Peanut visited Times Square today as the organizers of Advertising Week in New York gear up for nationwide voting on America's favorite icons and slogans.
Ad Week's parade of brand icons began in Times Square today. The final vote for consumer's favorite characters will be tallied in late September.
Ad Week's parade of brand icons began in Times Square today. The final vote for consumer's favorite characters will be tallied in late September.

Icons and slogans
While icons have been criticized in the past as representing an outdated image of the industry, they are back again and lobbying hard. Contenders for the position include Aunt Jemima, the Crash Test Dummies and Toucan Sam. Among the slogans vying for slogan of the year: "The best a man can get," for Gillette; "Just do it," for Nike; and "Don't mess with Texas," for the Texas Department of Transportation. There are 26 contenders in each category.

"You win by campaigning," said O. Burtch Drake, president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, one of the organizing committees of Advertising Week, this year scheduled for Sept. 25-29.

The Colonel's campaign
At the kickoff event, Colonel Sanders handed out red cards calling on people to vote for him. He noted the quality of KFC products, the role Colonel Sanders played in developing the fast-food industry and the fact that he was the only human in the group of icons in attendance. "Besides, I'm the best looking," said Mr. Sanders (played by Col. John Baxley of Anniston, Ala.).

"Some of the companies really get into it, and if they do, they could be a winner," Mr. Drake said.

Former New York Mayor Edward I. Koch also attended the Times Square event and offered campaign tips. Mr. Drake cited Mr. Koch's advice: When campaigning, use a two-handed handshake and emphasize good public-service work.

Winners announced in Sept.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Sept. 29, the final day of Advertising Week, and will be memorialized on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame. Winners also will be recognized in the Advertising Icon Museum, under construction in Kansas City, Mo.

Last year's icon winners were Juan Valdez of the Columbian Coffee Federation and the Geico Gecko. (There are two winners from each category.) The slogan winners were "Imagination at work," for General Electric co., and "When you care enough to send the very best," for Hallmark. According to Advertising Week, more than 1 million people voted last year.

Advertising fans today could have voted for their favorites at an authentic U.S. Federal Election Commission voting booth set up at the event. But people can also vote online at advertisingweek.yahoo.com.
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