As part of our countdown to Advertising Week 2016 in New York City and this year’s Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, we’re profiling the winners from the past 12 years; here are the winners from 2005.

Juan Valdez

Brand Represented: National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia
Year Introduced: 1959

Decades before the Starbucks Mermaid hit the java scene, Juan Valdez was paving the way as a humble, but legendary, icon for Colombian coffee. In 1959, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia worked alongside ad agency DDB Worldwide to dream up a spokesperson who captured the spirit of the coffee growers and producers who made 100% Colombian coffee as well as distinguishing the coffee itself.

Dressed in a wide hat, with a striped poncho draped over his shoulder, Juan carried a bag of coffee beans and was accompanied by his mule, Conchita. His look became instantly recognizable and internationally beloved as an icon for both Colombia and coffee. Voted as one of America’s favorite ad icons in 2005’s Walk of Fame, Juan, along with Mr. Whipple and the Pillsbury Doughboy, is considered one of advertising’s most successful pitchmen ever.


Brand Represented: GEICO
Year Introduced: 1999

Right alongside Juan Valdez in 2005’s Walk of Fame was another beloved brand mascot: a small, green lizard who wanted to help consumers save money on car insurance. And while he was only six at the time of his win, the friendly nature and good cheer of the GEICO Gecko had already made him an overnight sensation with audiences.

As a brand name, “GEICO” was often mispronounced as “Gecko” with consumers. GEICO’s ad agency, The Martin Agency, brainstormed a creative session where the gecko was doodled and brought to life. As the ambassador to GEICO, the Gecko provides outstanding customer service while saving people money on their insurance. He also loves meeting new people so you’re ever at a venue where you spot the Gecko, stop and say hello!


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