Last week I had one of my best “only in New York” experiences to date: parading through Times Square with more than a dozen brand icons and mascots.
The parade included The Michelin Man, Colonel Sanders, Tony the Tiger, The Kool-Aid Man, French’s Mustard, the Vlasic Stork, the Crash Test Dummies, a Kia Hamster, Mr. Peanut, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, The AOL Running Man and my favorite, CK client, Sparky the Fire Dog, the official “spokesdog” for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). All of these iconic characters made their way from the Times Center, through Times Square, to the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame. It was truly a sight to see. I even spotted a few jaded New Yorkers doing double takes.
This was the culmination of Advertising Week’s annual Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame public vote. It was exciting to have Sparky the Fire Dog among this year’s nominees for favorite icon. Not only is Sparky celebrating his 60th birthday this year, but the Advertising Week event came just days before the kick-off of the NFPA’s annual public awareness campaign, Fire Prevention Week (October 9-15).
While Sparky didn’t win (congrats to 2011’s Advertising Week Walk of Fame inductees Allstate's Mayhem and the Coca-Cola Polar Bears) it was an honor for him to be recognized for all the work he has done over the last 60 years.
Sparky plays an important role in communicating fire safety to kids and families and is an integral part of Fire Prevention Week. His messages are crucial because children under the age of five face the highest risk of home fire death. And while fire can be frightening to children, the kind and gentle image of this Dalmatian emphasizes positive fire safety messages in a way that is appealing to children.
Working with NFPA to promote Sparky and Fire Prevention Week, we’ve found that you’re never too old to brush up on your fire safety knowledge. Do you know how often you should replace your smoke alarm? Do you know the leading cause of home fires? Challenge yourself by taking the NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week Quiz and discover your safety IQ.
CK helped make this a big birthday year for Sparky, his photo made it into the New York Times and he appeared on the PIX11 Morning News to promote Fire Safety Week. From all of us at CK, Happy Birthday Sparky!