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The Happy Cows campaign created by the Deutsch LA advertising agency for the California Milk Advisory Board produced a challenge for Deutsch LA. Deutsch LA had to fashion an ad campaign that promoted California cheese without being specific to one type of cheese. The California Milk Advisory Board wanted the consumers of California cheese to have an emotional attachment to their products. Deutsch LA took the original slogan "California cheese is great cheese" and manipulated the tagline to reflect the vision of the California Milk Advisory Board creating "Great Cheese comes from Happy Cows. Happy Cows come from California." The campaign became a success winning several creative awards. The "quirky" remarks gained the emotional attachment for consumers that the California Milk Advisory Board desired.
The campaign with the quirky lines coming from what appears to be well-pampered cows struck me as original, funny and great advertising. The campaign did not stop at the radio and television commercials there was the major push to create brand recognition of the Real California Cheese logo. The logo "depicts the image of California with a rising sun and rolling plains, on a golden, cheddar cheese-colored background." (Case) The logo could have been designed more creatively in my opinion better but it drives the point home about California's rolling plains and beautiful sunsets. The important outcome for the logo was to alert the consumers purchasing a product with the logo attached was that the cheese was natural and came from California. The ingenious push to do integrated major store sampling, brand collaborating and coupons created brand awareness. Strategically placing coupons for cheese bearing the Real California Cheese logo on such products as lunchmeat and mushrooms generated incalculable brand awareness.
Brand awareness is difficult in a market saturated with a countless number of competitors. However, the California Milk Advisory Board expanded their strategy by exceeding the norm by collaborating with restaurants to place their logo on menus, and pizza cartons. A successful advertising campaign creates a strong logo that when viewed forms emotional relevance, achieved with the real California cheese logo, connected with humorous cow commercials. Although I have not see the logo on cheese in the local stores I would buy the cheese product because of the commercials and how they make me chuckle when I see them. If the logo was not introduced, I believe that some of the last effect in creating the commercials would have simple been lost. Strong advertisement requires being partnered with a logo to be successful.
Creating the Real California Cheese brand stumbled in its early stages. The California Milk Advisory Board started with its tag line "It's the Cheese" (case) implying that tourists go to California because of the cheese. Strategically, this type of advertising would become old and actually be a "turn off" for tourists and residents of California. However, the major shift with the Happy Cows campaign created a warm and inviting invitation to California.
The Happy Cows campaign created negative results as well; there are many websites, which express the conditions of how the real cows of California are treated with less than happy conditions. I feel that anyone who believes that California cows are actually treated like the ones in the commercials needs to find a grasp on reality because cows are farm animals and are treated as such.
The campaign has been running strong now for close to ten years now and I believe that there is plenty of life left in the campaign. The campaign will eventually run its course like any great campaign and when it does, I hope that the next one will be as good. I believe that most sequels are never as good. I really do not know how Deutsch LA or any other advertising agency could top the Happy Cows.
The California Milk Advisory Board used a seven million dollar consumer promotion program that consisted of three major strategies. The utilization of instantly redeemable coupons on related complementing products, sight sampling of products available at that particular store and self-liquidating premium offers. The consumer inundated with the Real California Cheese logo in every major grocery store could not resist the sample stations setup to allow the consumer to taste the products before committing to buying them. The strategy was to bring brand awareness to the consumer and remind them that the companion products that had coupons on them made an impressive pairing from crackers to luncheon meat.
The consumers really needed to see and try the cheese in order to understand why the product was so essential for the logo to be visible and understood. Once the consumers understood the logo and that it stood for natural cheese made in California, the consumer could request that their favorite restaurants, pizza place and hamburger shops use the cheese to take pride in the state and support the local economy by buying local cheese in place of importing them from other states or countries. The California Milk Advisory Board felt displaying at trade shows to be an important strategy to make their presence known to wholesalers.
The California Milk Advisory Board used a one point seven million dollar public relations program to promote and enhance the public view of California cheeses. The major groups were the consumer, professional chefs and the trade market targeting food distributers. The California Milk Advisory Board focused on targeting specialty demographics using specialty food magazines, food sections of major newspapers, wine magazines, and travel magazines with advertisements, recipe ideas, tips for pairing wine and cheese, and great cheese producers to tour. The California Milk Advisory Board did not stop there; they used their public relations "to target fine restaurants, specialty stores, gourmet cheese shops, chefs, specialty store buyers, media personalities, radio stations and newspapers."
The public relations aspect included the small cheese manufactures who could not afford to advertise giving them the same type of recognition as the larger cheese manufactures. The most creative idea was the focuses on the cheese makers who made their cheese the old-fashioned way with old school tools analogous to the Amish people in Pennsylvania, which thousands of people visit and enjoy watching make their products every year.
Deutsch LA created an interactive website that consumers can visit and see some of the Happy Cows advertisements, buy Happy Cow merchandise and cheese products. The website also has a section where coupons maybe downloaded. Consumers can see maps of the locations of cheese producers and even sections where they can see recipes, and what cheese goes best with different types of wine. Children can have fun on the website because there is a section that has children's games. Another section of the website enables older children to download Happy Cow calendars and desktop wallpaper. Retailers and foodservices were included on the interactive website with sections for chefs, restaurant operators, and food distributers. To assist the food industry professionals there was provision of information on a variety of topics including information from the proper way to how to handle cheese, store cheese, recipes and other restaurant related material. The website was ingenious and ahead of its time because this electronic site covered every age group. The website assists cooks from the people who cook at home to professional chefs. The website complements the other aspects of the advertising campaign by reaching other demographics that the rest of the campaign had not previously targeted. Now anyone around the world can find the site through any search engine and find useful information for their situation.
The California Milk Advisory Board focused on their promotion metrics to increase awareness of the brand logo and the California dairy industry. The strategy created was to help the failing dairy industry in California. The focus was how they could promote the use of one key dairy product, cheese, to relieve the milk crises and generate revenue. Cheese was selected as the solution because from cheese the largest profit could be generated. California imported most of its cheese from other states and some from other countries. The California Milk Advisory Board found that if they generated pride in California cheese there would be a significant profit to be made. The cheese industry rapidly expanded in California with the biggest push with the real California cheese logo. There are other metrics that could have been chosen, but none would have been as successful as the intense marking campaign of the cheese logo. After the logo was established, the California Milk Advisory Board needed a strong television advertising campaign and Deutsch LA delivered by creating the Happy Cows series, opening the doorway to new opportunities with the website.
The California Cheese industry can pursue a wide variety of advertising and promotional opportunities. The hottest trend in television today is reality shows. Deutsch LA could pursue avenues that would spoof those types of shows like American Cowdol a spoof of American Idol, Dancing with the Cows a spin on Dancing with the Stars, Cowvivor a spoof of Survivor, and even Cow swap a spin from Wife Swap.
The California Cheese industry has use humor to create humanlike cow characters to focus on everyday traits of humans I find them to be a welcome relief with the exception of Bob the bull who tries to pick up a cow using French; I will never try anything like that in the future now. The Happy Cow campaign will end because consumers will lose interest and the California Cheese industry can take a more serious approach to their advertising campaigns. The focuses can shift to how well the industry is doing with winning international awards or promote the cliché of Made in America.
Critics claim that Happy Cows do not come from California and feel that the cows in California are treated inhumane. The reality is that cows are farm animals and the Happy Cows campaign focuses on hummer not the real life accuracies of cows. I do not feel that cows deserve to be treated inhumanely however I do feel that they do disserve to be treated like any other farm animal.