1984 - Volume #8, Issue #3, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
This Billboard Is No Bull
Farfetched as the idea may seem, a Canadian farm on the outskirts of Toronto is attracting world-wide attention with its money-making Bovine Billboards.
"We never dreamed the idea would generate so much attention and interest," reports Frazier Mohawk, a partner in Puck's Farm which earns up to $1,000 per cow per year by dressing its jersey cows in blankets carrying paid advertising messages.
The farm has the ads printed on 2 by 3-ft. blankets made of oilcloth. An ad on one side of a cow costs $500 per year. An attention-getting cowbell costs $7 per month extra. And, as a special bonus, any advertiser with a rental sign on a cow that has a calf gets a free sign on the calf.
Puck Farm has several unusual factors in its favor which, admittedly, allow it to "milk" the Bovine Billboards idea for more than it may be worth to most other dairymen. The farm is an educational rural life center which attracts more than 50,000 visitors a year. And, it's located on a well-traveled highway near the Toronto municipal airport. "We figure more than 100,000 people will see an advertising message carried by one of our six Jersey cows," says Mohawk. "And virtually every visitor will read and remember the commercial message because of its unusual location ù on the side of a real-live cow."
Cows don't seem to mind wearing an advertising blanket, says Mohawk, noting that they wear the covering when outside in the barnyard or grazing, and while inside in stalls. "It helps keep them warm and comfortable in winter. For summer wear, we're looking at a lighter, cooler material," says Mohawk.
A popular Toronto restaurant was the first to buy a Bovine Billboard. It rented only one side but, after discovering that cows lie around a lot and more often than not on the "wrong" side, decided to rent both sides. Other clients include Rich's Dairy Cream and Jersey Canada.
If it works with cows, why not turn the whole barnyard ù sows, horses, sheep and goats ù into mooing, snorting, braying and bellowing billboards? Keep in mind that this is an election year with all kinds of possibilities for doing a booming business in political advertising alone ù provided, of course, that you have the appropriate barnyard animal to carry the message.
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