Longer days, hotter temps, and plenty of three-day weekends can only mean one thing — we’re getting into a summer state of mind here at AW! Nothing says summertime quite like a road trip and this year, members of the ad community are bringing their favorite brand mascot buddies along for the ride. Whether it’s Chester Cheetah stocking up snacks, the Michelin Man at the ready for speedy roadside assistance, or The Most Interesting Man in the World simply being himself, here’s a look at the characters (organized by their car passenger duties) hitting the road with us.

Insurance, Directions, and Repairs

Practical, yes. Boring, never.

“Gotta get uber-practical with the GEICO Gecko both for his British wit and the coverage we’d inevitably have on the car that would make sure the road trip goes on forever!” — Cassandra Nickels, Account Director, Dixon Schwabl

“The Michelin Man. He can change a tire real quick in a pinch and I bet he’d get me a discount. Hope he’s cool with podcasts because I don’t think we’d have much to talk about. If we got comfortable together I’d ask him why he’s made of marshmallows but sells tires.” — Alan Duda, Art Director, Sleek Machine

“I second that vote for the Michelin Man — someone’s got to be able to change the tire if we break down!” — Elena Griffo, Account Coordinator — PR, GS&F

“I was first exposed to my travel muse, the Travelocity Gnome, when watching the film Amelie. One is always impressed with unexpected stardom, and the fact that a garden-variety gnome parlayed this vague notoriety into what must be a handsome contract with Travelocity is commendable. He’s got one heckuva an agent! But what makes him such an impressive icon of everything wonderful about travel? Clearly it is partially based on experience, which is showcased in creative and innovative ways through his Twitter account, @RoamingGnome. You can see he has great taste in food, yet he’s made of wood so I would get to eat his meals as well as my own.” – Gordon McMillan, CEO, McMillan Creative Agency

“On good road trips, cell service can be hard to come by. Which is a problem, because I am always lost. If my gut tells me to turn left at a fork in the road on a dusty mountain trail in Colorado, I was supposed to turn right, 99.9 percent of the time. But there’s always that .01% right?! That’s where the Travelocity Gnome comes in. He’s been everywhere — he must have evolved past GPS by now! I couldn’t think of a better person, sorry, gnome to get lost with.” — Yancey Kenna, Director of Content Engagement, GS&F

The Snack Squad

Gotta do it for the ‘Gram. #eeeeeats

“The Cheetos ‘spokescat’ Chester Cheetah, a brand icon for over 30 years, would be my pick for a road trip. We’d get into some fun shenanigans and eat Cheetos until our fingers turned orange. And let’s face it – it ain’t easy being cheesy!” — Meghan Tawney, Senior Marketing Manager, Adtaxi

“I’ve always envied Mr. Peanut’s swagger — this guy is so classic and dapper. Not only could we caravan the entire agency in his Nutmobile, but we could also jam to his playlist for hours on end! I’m sure he would get us into all sorts of exclusive events, introduce us to awesome people, and share some unbelievable stories. Plus, I’m a big fan of mixed nuts – they are the perfect snack … a little something for everyone!” — Holly Mason, President and Owner, MasonBaronet

“I could see myself cruising Hwy 1 in Mr. Peanut’s Bugatti and rubbing elbows with high society along the way. For me, it would be an unforgettable trip of opulent revelry. For Mr. Peanut, another hollow ghost of a friendship that might have been — were it not for the crown of roasted peanut prosperity he wears so heavy on his head.” — Chris Bradley, Associate Creative Director, Motion, FerebeeLane

“As a lover of all things cookies, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the Keebler Elves on a road trip with me! I think everyone should aim to be friends with elves that spend their days baking in magical ovens. They would definitely supply the sweetest road trip snacks, and I’m sure they are just generally delightful to be around.” — ElizaBeth Fincannon, Account Manager, BSM Media

“I’d bring along the Trix Rabbit for sure. Silly, energetic and an eternal optimist. He never stops smiling, has insane energy, and embraces a childlike joy of life!” — Danica Kombol, CEO, Everywhere Agency

Drinks and More

What we’re sippin’ on and staying energized with — and the excellent company keeping our spirits high.

“I’m taking the Kool-Aid Man along for the ride so we can break through anything in our way. The rules of the road don’t apply here!” — Bill Gullan, President, Finch Brands

“I would probably take Juan Valdez with me. Long distance road trips require fuel for mind and body and I know Juan would be keeping the tap flowing freely of his delicious, potent, and charged Colombian coffee. I’m sure he would entertain me and pass away the hours with his deep knowledge of soil components, altitude, varieties, harvesting, and roasting methods. I could also brush up on my Spanish. Probably would need to have a big truck to fit his trusted four-legged sidekick.” — Eric Freedman, Chief Strategy Officer, Sleek Machine

“I’ve been lucky enough to road trip with the Energizer Bunny a few times now and I can tell you from experience there’s no one better when you’re heading to Vegas for 24 hours. He’s the perfect companion when you need to drive through the night. I mean, the nonstop beating of that drum is better at keeping you awake than a jumbo-sized cup of coffee.” — Roger Camp, Partner & CCO, Camp + King

“We don’t always go on road trips, but when we do we invite the Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World along.” — Steve Moran, VP Group Account Director, Integer Des Moines

“If I could choose an icon to join me on a road trip, I’d for sure pick the original Most Interesting Man in the World. While he is no longer the icon for the brand after nine very interesting years, I have often thought how exciting it would be, as a fly on his shoulder, to join him every time he climbed a mountain; ice fished in the polar ice caps, or went on a date with the Miss Universe of just about every country. With each sky dive, game of handball, or one-way spaceship trip to Mars, he epitomizes bravery, stepping out of his comfort zone, and finding greatness in every adventure. Who wouldn’t want a road companion who overcomes fear every moment of every day? After all, the last time he flirted with danger, danger got clingy.” — David Angelo, Founder and Chairman, David&Goliath


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