cows are us

December 14, 2008

chick-fil-a

 

For the past years I have been noticing the use of cows in North American advertising. Being a vegetarian and having cows as one of my favorite animals, made me an easy target for those campaigns; which in my opinion are brilliant. The first campaign showcased here was created by Dallas’ advertising agency “The Richards Group“, for the Atlanta based restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A.

chick-fil-a

 

The slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” is used as if the cows were protesting against the amount of beef consumed in America, on an attempt to reconstruct American fast-food industry. The campaign directly targets McDonald’s, Burger King,  Wendy’s, and other hamburger based chain restaurants, focusing on educating customers to eat more chicken.

 
chick-fil-a

The creative team have used smart and sharp copywriting with misspelled words representing the cows illiteracy, and at the same time creating a more fun and relaxed boycott. The campaign started in 1994 with a single billboard and continues evolving, exploring new possibilities; and most of the times adjusting the jokes and sense of humor to the aesthetic of their different locations across America.

chick-fil-a

In some of the TV commercials, cows take more extreme action like in the one shown here; where they invade a football stadium landing on a burger vendor. The same interactivity has been brought to real life by using three-dimensional cows tagging massive billboards near the main freeways of American cities. I find the entire campaign brilliant, fun and very original. The creative team has done such a good job applying the concept to their target audience; by the use important icons of their culture, such as football.

Another brilliant, yet controversial campaign was created by the Los Angeles based “Deutsch Inc.”, for the Real California Cheese company. The slogan “real cheese comes from happy cows – happy cows come from California”, uses California’s geography, weather, and culture; which combined to clever copy-writing transmits the ideal environment for dairy farming.

The commercials are set on paradisiacal farms, where the sun shines and natural events such as earthquakes make the cows’ life more interesting. The parallel between the effects of the great Californian weather on its inhabitants, is here applied to the cows. In one of the commercials, the cows complain about the rainy season, which is represented by one single cloud in the sky. 

In another commercial, an Alaskan cow moves to California and loves the fact there is no snow on the ground. The Californian cows raise eyebrows for not knowing the word “snow”, even though in reality, it snows a bit in California. Another commercial shows two bulls hitting on some cows passing by. They use some slangs that a Californian “dude” would use to hit on a “chick”, talking about working out and other body conscious aspects.

Notwithstanding the remarkable advertising campaign, California Milk Advisory Board has encountered some legal issues along the way. Animals rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have alleged the company is using false advertisement; making the audience believe that cows are raised in such utopian conditions. According to PETA, “Roughly one-third of California’s cows suffer from painful udder infections, and more than half suffer from other painful infections and illnesses”, amongst several other allegations.

happy cows

This is a very complicated issue for me, as a vegetarian and a visual communicator. I have always been aware of the reality of the majority of cattle farms, and that is one of the reasons why I originally decided to become a vegetarian, ten years ago. Nonetheless, I think the campaign is bright and effective, getting the attention of different groups with divergent opinions. Moreover, controversy is a sign of good advertising, right?

All the images used for this entry are copywrited and were extracted from the Chick-Fil-A and Real California Cheese websites.

For more information about animal rights, vegetarianism and unhappy cows visit: www.unhappycows.com

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whale wars

December 9, 2008

Despite the fact I don’t own a TV, I watch a few TV Series from Netflix or on the Internet. I know television is an essential element in people’s house, and it has always been one present in mine. Nonetheless, after realizing how much time I have spent watching bad shows or endlessly flipping through channels hoping to find something that pleases my eyes; I decided to give up. I sold my tv about a year ago and bought a projector. Now I have control over what I watch, the same way I control what I listen or read. 

My new reality addiction is a well produced show broadcasted on Animal Planet. It is called “Whale Wars”, and it is a documentary about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s mission attempting to stop Japanese whaling. The organization was founded by the Canadian Captain Paul Watson in 1977; after being asked to leave his co-founded organization “Greenpeace”, due to his extremist behavior. 

Every year, the Sea Shepherd receives the support of activists with different backgrounds from around the globe; and leave Port Melbourne, Australia on an expedition to the cold waters of Antarctica. The controversial, unpredictable and utmost campaign uses any available ways to impede the Japanese ships from hunting whales. Because the dispute happens in high seas, laws are interpreted differently by the countries involved in the battle. The Japanese claim that the whales serve for scientific research to provide a basis for the sustainable whaling, in which the remaining parts, such as meat and oils, are processed and sold to the Japanese population. The opposition, composed mostly by Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States believe in the conservation of endangered species. 

No matter what you believe, or which side of the story you support; this is a TV Series not to be missed. It’s action from beginning to end, filled with real drama and edited in a very honest and interesting way. It’s one of those shows that make you stand on the top of your toes and cheer for those people on the screen. It makes me feel so proud of those few who are putting their life in risk fighting for their beliefs; but at the same time, I can’t help not feeling I could be doing more to make this place a better world.

If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go and let us know what you think. The show goes on every Friday at 9pm.
You can check the schedule and more info at: http://animal.discovery.com/tv/whale-wars/

 

 

funny as!

June 10, 2008

As part of my daily routine down under, I’ve been trying all the local productions recommended by friends and people I meet along the way, whether is theatre, music, tv or cinema. After being amazed with old Australian movies such as “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla – Queen of the Desert”, discovering such contemporary movies as “Two Hands” (starring Heath Ledger), “Sommersault”, and the horrifying true-story based “Wolf Creek”; this time the show which has kept me awake laughing out loud, comes from the little screen. That’s right! Despite my dislike for television, this ABC series has filled my life with joy and new quotations. I find myself constantly laughing on the streets or at work as I remember some of the lines.

I’m talking about the Australian television mockumentary series ‘Summer Heights High’, written by and starring Chris Lilley. The series is about an Australian Public High School, focusing on three main characters, all played by Lilley. The series brings up typical daily situations from the Australian society, which can easily be recognized in other societies around the globe. Chris Lilley, who was born in Sydney and lives in Melbourne, demonstrates his brilliant acting and creative skills by delivering a dark yet hysterical humour. The three protagonists are a spoiled private school exchange student, Ja’mie King; the offensive Tongan break-dancer student Jonah Takalua; as well as the flamboyant, eccentric, frustrated actor, teacher and ‘Director of Performing Arts”, Mr. G.

The show, which brings a high dose of awkward humour, can be for Australia, what ‘Little Britain’ is for the UK, or even what the American version of ‘The Office’ is for the United States. Due to its controversial themes, in addition to constant absolutely wrong statements, the series has divergent opinions amongst its audience. Nevertheless, regardless if you like it or not, Chris Lilley’s talent is something on which we can’t disagree. This outstanding production can be found on DVD somewhere near you, and as I refuse to leave Australia without my own copy in my suitcase, I’ll have one to proudly let you borrow!