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Celebrating the Sell

Everybody says they hate TV advertising. They DVR things and fast-forward through the commercials, they say, and they watch shows on DVD, and blah blah whatever. It’s not entirely true, and you know it. You watch the ads, at least some of the time, and there are ads you hate and ads you love. Yes, you do love some ads, and some advertising icons.

Enter Advertising Week, the annual gathering of agencies and clients and media in New York. It’s coming up soon, and on October 4th, they’ll be enshrining two American advertising icons and two slogans on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame. And they’ve enlisted BuzzFeed to do an online poll to find out what you think.

Here’s the list of icon nominees, and I’ll say right off the bat that I’m familiar with all but two: The French’s Mustard Man (who?), the Keebler Elves (Ernie!), Smokey Bear (not Smokey THE Bear, he’ll have you know), Vince and Larry the Crash Test Dummies (one-hit wonders), Flo from Progressive Insurance, the Coke polar bears, the Energizer Bunny, the E-Trade babies, the Kia hip-hop hamsters, The Most Interesting Man in the World (can’t argue with that campaign’s success), Mucinex’s Mr. Mucus, the California Raisins, Snap, Crackle and Pop, Sparky the Fire Dog (Who the What?), Jared from Subway, Mr. Clean, the Jolly Green Giant, McGruff the Crime Dog, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like from Old Spice (I assume we mean Isaiah Mustafa rather than the others in subsequent commercials like the Sea Captain), and Allstate’s Mr. Mayhem, aka Dean Winters.

Now, I would think that some of these should go right in without a vote. The Rice Krispies trio? Mr. Clean? The Jolly Green Giant? Even the Keeblers and McGruff and Jared and the Raisins should be ushered right past the velvet rope and into the club, no vote necessary. But even the current campaigns have some strong contenders. Love her or hate her (oh, you can’t hate her, can you?), you all know Flo and you know what she’s selling, and Stephanie Courtney is so good at it that, well, send her in, too. Same for The Most Interesting Etc.: the campaign sold a lot of beer, and Jonathan Goldsmith could not be more perfect as The Man. The Old Spice guy hasn’t had as long a run, but that first commercial was a keeper, so he could qualify. I’d say no, however, to Mr. Mucus. I mean, he’s phlegm.

Slogans? Among the nominees are “Think Outside the Bun,” “Don’t Leave Home Without It,” “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO,” “What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?,” “Got Milk?,” “We Move People” (huh?), “The Best Part of Waking Up Is Folger’s In Your Cup,” “Made From The Best Stuff On Earth,” “Just Do It,” “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” “What’s In Your Wallet?.” “I (Heart) NY,” “I Live for This” (that’s one from Major League Baseball, and while I’ve seen the ads, they just don’t register), “Is It In You?” (huh huh), “Be All That You Can Be,” “A Diamond Is Forever,” “I Want My MTV,” “Hungry? Grab a Snickers” (that’s a slogan?), “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline” (THAT’S a slogan?), and “Ideas for Life.” Lame bunch. And why hasn’t anyone used the slogan “BUY THIS OR DIE!” yet? I would think that would be effective.

You can put your two cents in, too. The vote is taking place right now, and you can vote on your favorite icons here and your favorite slogan here. Of course, this doesn’t really matter, because the only thing that DOES matter is whether the ads sell the product. Think of this as for amusement purposes only. And from here on out, you don’t have to hide the fact that, sometimes, you let the commercials run on the DVR, and that you might have a wee bit of a crush on Flo or the T-Mobile Girl or the Old Spice Guy. It’s okay. Google ’em: You’re far from alone.

HT: USA Today, Dave Elliott at WGUF/Naples, FL

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  1. Troy Torrison says:

    I’m an ad guy and this thing is a ‘thing’ for the industry. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s like our DragonCon. Every year when they do this event they celebrate different ‘trade characters’ and slogans and such. The Doughboy and the Marlboro man have gotten their due at other times. And the Geico Gekko will get his tiny prints immortalized in cement on Madison Avenue in due time, I’m sure.

  2. Craig says:

    I don’t think that group of slogans is too bad. De Beers pretty much made the diamond engagement ring universal in Western culture with “A Diamond is Forever,” “Got Milk?” is classic, “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO” really seemed true in the years before AMC and FX realized they could make good series on cable, etc.

  3. f3rgette says:

    No Geico Gecko???

  4. eric oliva says:

    You are truly my hero cant wait for Oct 4 to be here this goes perfect with my current interest in company advertising and right after i just finished watching POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold! much love you Chris for being such a great influence in my life, see ya on BBC/or G4. πŸ˜€

  5. Dom says:

    I’m not a big fan of these made up weeks that celebrate something that is every week anyway. Advertising Week in NYC…walk downtown. Every week is Advertising Week in NYC. It’s like the Social Media Week coming up in Los Angeles. Really? Every week is Social Media Week…especially in Los Angeles.

  6. Luanne says:

    Where’s the Pillsbury Doughboy? This list is BULLSHIT!