Surrounded by groups of shutterbugs and gawking tourists, advertising icons such as Mr. Clean, the Keebler Elves, Charlie the Tuna, and the Vegas showgirls gathered around the voting booth positioned on a traffic island with such Broadway characters as the Phantom of the Opera, The Bride from "Mama Mia," and a slick master of ceremonies who thanked Captain Crunch for instilling in him "an absorbing love of the sea."
The event is a precursor to New York's Advertising Week, which runs September 26 through 30, and was also attended by the winning icons of the 2004 voting, M&M's brand characters, Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Mr. Peanut, whose "elegance" was lauded by one of the speakers.
The winners of the 2005 election will be unveiled at a ceremony on Madison Avenue on September 26, the first day of Advertising Week 2005.
"This event is an important component, the public face of advertising week," said Ken Kaess, Advertising Week 2005 co-chairman and president-CEO, DDB Worldwide. "It celebrates advertising's historical significance and its impact on the public."
Juan Valdez, the campesino farmer whose weathered visage is most closely associated with Colombian coffee, was scheduled to appear, but disappeared in territory under the control of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) rebel group as he attempted to reach the Medellin airport, sources said.