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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sex is in the air

May 28, 2008

Air – Sexy Boy

After a long wait, Sex and the City: The Movie, is being released. The feature film which is an adaptation of the HBO comedy series, is causing a buzz in the four corners of the world. The TV series has brought to our lives a new and sincere approach to sexuality, love, friendship, and reality which cannot only be applied to New York City, but to any other big city in the world. Its characters have inspired millions amongst different generations across the world, therefore often groups of friends easily identify themselves with their favourite character while they sip cosmopolitans at lounges and restaurants around town. I believe Sex and the City was the first TV show which dealt with the daily crisis of living in such a genuine and concrete way; furthermore it was the first show to break stereotypical rules imposed by the human being and our societies. It brought up taboos while bringing down layers and facades existent in our individual’s character. Therefore, it showed us new possibilities based on a controversial yet straight forward new-yorker life-style. 

The movie’s world premiere was held at Leicester Square, in London, on May 12th, 2008, being released in the UK on May 28th. Tomorrow is the big day in the United States and Canada, however we need to wait until the 5th of June to watch it on the big screen down under. In the meantime, while people anxiously wait for the day, cinemas are working hard to ensure its Australian debut follows the movie’s classiness and sophistication. The movie’s advertisements can be seen all over town, at the same time local businesses, such as clubs and bars, take advantage of all the excitement to improve their sales by organizing thematic parties based on the film. As the movie receives mixed reviews, I have once again chosen to disregard them. Moreover, it would be a plus if the movie brought something new into my life, nevertheless if this is just another follow-up two hour episode, I’ll be more than satisfied. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a Sex and the City episode which I hadn’t seen before.

watch the official trailer here:

land of freedom

January, 22nd 2008. End of chapter. Last day of North America after three years for now. Resuming the past three years in one sentence:

 

New country, language, america, culture, lifestyle, food, friends, relationship, degree, skills, understanding of life.

 

North America, divided by 3 countries, even though sometimes refusing one of them, due to its development character. A country that commands, a country that follow the commands, and a country that appears to be neutral to this hierarchy, yet recognizing its place in the world and society. A continent where things can be divided between east and west, and of course, the most of the times unattractive “between”. 

 

America, land of opportunities, desires and dreams. Most of the time dreamed by foreign eyes. A land of diversity, land of hate and love, a land where poor people watch their favorite shows in their flat screen TV, “super-sizing” themselves with fat, yet food. A place where misery is associated with mental Illness, and most of homeless people have no need to kill to survive. A place where I wish more people would leave their own bubble, at least once in their lives…

 

Southern North America, land of wishes, natural beauty, preserved culture. A place where people are raised dreaming, most of the times about america. Drawing maps, planning and executing, most of the times, failing when trying to cross what can be called the “new Berlin wall”. For those who cross it: a new life, full of challenges. Invisible, undesirable, yet essential people.

 

Northern North America, land of tolerance, natural beauty, and cold weather. A place that reminds me of home. A better developed version of home. Warmth and kindness, yet sometimes with a bit of cold and dryness, maybe for the fact of still being part of… America. 

 

North America, Central America, South America. All the differences found in the similarity of a word. Different wars, different classes, different war of classes. 

 

Afterwards… Proud for being… American.