Moooved to ask
April 6, 2005 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Anybody have a clue what's going on at Billboards started showing up here in the Baltimore area a week or so ago. The site is registered locally, but the execution of the site seems too good to be just some local prank. So far, the only Google reference to the site is a Craigslist ad looking for people to travel around Maryland wearing the cowsuit. What are they advertising? Skim milk? Chick-Fil-A?
posted by baltimore to Media & Arts (24 answers total)
Besides researching the marketing firm that's doing it, RedPeg Marketing, and seeing that they have Pepsi, Nestle, and a few other food-industry companies as part of their client list, and that they've done viral marketing before for GE (the wallet drop campaign), among others... I'd say it's viral marketing.

Congratulations. How does it feel to be a cog in a marketing machine?
posted by SpecialK at 9:02 PM on April 6, 2005

Seems a good bet it's a corporate publicity stunt, since the contact email in the Craigslist post is someone at RedPeg Marketing, whose easily found client list includes Miller, Bacardi, AOL, Best Buy, etc. Come on, that's easy.

OP, what SpecialK said.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 PM on April 6, 2005

Oh, apparently it's "Emotional Touch Point Marketing" that "ensures results-focused emotional experiences that connect brands to consumers in powerful personal ways."

*holds sides, laughs uncontrollably*

Do people really pay for this stuff?
posted by mediareport at 9:11 PM on April 6, 2005

I don't care who's sponsoring it, or what it's for -- I love it! Purely whimsical -- perfect!
posted by davidmsc at 9:12 PM on April 6, 2005

The glorious bovine uprising has begun! All hail Milkor, our heroic, Holstein leader! No longer will the bovine race be oppressed by you foolish, criminal humans! Soon bovinekind will trample you with our cloven hoofs! Already the human breeding and milking camps are being prepared!

A little history, perhaps? In the late eighties (by western human calendar) a bovine renaissance began, let by esteemed Canadienne philosopher, Niccolo Moochiavelli. Niccolo finally opened our big, brown eyes with their big, brown eyelashes to just how inferior the human race is compared to the bovine perfect form; your tiny dual breasts; your single stomach; your inability to sleep standing up.

So a resistance movement was formed, but you humans have been too caught up in your bourbon and beefsteaks, your 100% American beef patties, your Double Whopper With Cheeses to notice! You missed our delaying tactics - those noble comrades who purposely contracted Mad Cow Syndrome to decrease the amount of beef eaten - our agents destroying the Meat Packers Union from within - Starbucks. We have delayed and distracted and undermined your position. And now, when the call begins to go out, Bovines Unite! Bovines Rise Up Against Your Two Legged Oppressors! You wonder why...

Fear, humans. Your hamburger eating days are numbered.
posted by   at 9:49 PM on April 6, 2005

It wouldn't have anything to do with that whole Raging Cow thing? It was a viral marketing scheme cooked up by the It seems really similar in concept. It was a Dr. Pepper/7-Up branded milk-based drink that was promoted via blog:

"There's a regular old Raging Cow blog—the gimmick seems to be that the drink's cow mascot is writing the entries—but it's basically irrelevant." (From the linked Slate article.)

The blog isn't online anymore, but I remember it was about cow revolution, and it was funny until everyone figured out they were shilling a "milk beverage," that came in "5 wild flavours."

It's kind of considered a debacle now, because of the backlash, and the boycott is the first Google result. Why would they try the same tactic again?
The site's offline now, and is reeeally slow, but it seems to similar to be a coincidence.
posted by SoftRain at 10:31 PM on April 6, 2005

It was a viral marketing scheme cooked up by the It seems really similar in concept.
...cooked by the Dr. Pepper/7-Up people.

Also, too similar. Not "to similar."

Why don't I notice this stuff on preview?
posted by SoftRain at 10:38 PM on April 6, 2005

Fear, humans. Your hamburger eating days are numbered.

You must work for Boca Burgers, don't you?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:44 PM on April 6, 2005

The other day in Bethesda, MD my friends and a walked by a truck that said "Bovine United" on it, and a few minutes later we came across about 4 people in all-out cow suits waving and shaking hands in front of Barnes & Noble. It was very bizarre.
posted by puffin at 4:40 AM on April 7, 2005

(note to self: puffin knows too much)
posted by davidmsc at 5:32 AM on April 7, 2005

I've wondered the same thing, baltimore; I saw the billboard driving up Greenmount yesterday. I was afraid to go to the site because I didn't want to be accused of being a cog by other people at MeFi. I always get accused of being a cog. I hate it. I'm no cog, people. I'm no cog!! I'm no cog.
posted by OmieWise at 6:15 AM on April 7, 2005

I don't know what it's about, but I like it too. I recognize that it's just not cool around here to like marketing and advertising, but there's an art to it. When it's done well, it's good stuff. See: (the evil) Nike, Volkswagen, those crazy Emerald Nuts commercials, etc.
posted by AgentRocket at 6:50 AM on April 7, 2005

Response by poster: Ever since "Lust for Life" was co-opted to sell cruise line tickets, I gave up on worrying about marketing and advertising and embraced my inner-cog.

But seriously, as long as the ad agencies have to work harder and harder to get our attention, and the campaigns get more entertaining in the bargain, I don't see the problem.

(On preview, what AgentRocket said too)

It sure beats crappy Bedding Barn commercials and popunders.
posted by baltimore at 6:53 AM on April 7, 2005

It sure beats crappy Bedding Barn commercials and popunders.

Are crappy Bedding Barn commercials like the ones with scanning shots of warehouse stock and a guy saying "I HAVE LOTS OF BEDDING. BUY IT FOR CHEAP. COME TO BEDDING BARN. BALLOONS AND HOT DOGS FOR THE KIDS"? I love those. That's what all advertising should be: I have stuff/Here it is/Here's its price/Buy it. Anything else is bullshit, and that always interferes with my enjoyment of ads that are meant to be entertaining: I'm being sold something other than the product ostensibly being advertised, and that gives me the creeps.

I'm with you on the popunders though.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:12 AM on April 7, 2005

Reminds me of:
Flash video of the novelty song "Cows with Guns," with lyrics like:

He was a scrawny calf, who looked rather woozy
No one suspected he was packing an Uzi
Cows with guns

They came with a needle to stick in his thigh
He kicked for the groin, he pissed in their eye
Cow well hung

Knocked over a tractor and ran for the door
Six gallons of gas flowed out on the floor
Run cows run!
posted by NickDouglas at 8:15 AM on April 7, 2005

What's this I keep hearing about new Pepsi "Fire"? I'm really excited about it, but I don't know why.
posted by squirrel at 8:41 AM on April 7, 2005

I suspect our own weston might have something to do with this. (Click on the link marked "HolsteinRebellion".)

Moo, moo, moo ...
posted by tdismukes at 8:44 AM on April 7, 2005

The following can be seen when viewing "source" of the linked blog: Bovine Blog:

Blogger Template Style
Name: Minima
Designer: Douglas Bowman
Date: 26 Feb 2004.

A multiple media "tickler" viral marketing campaign.
posted by ericb at 9:20 AM on April 7, 2005

The Craigslist ad "Position Title: Field Team Member (Moo Member) Timeline: March
29, 2005-May 10 2005, etc." now reads: "This posting has been deleted - Date: 2005-03-08, 12:14PM EST".

(Me further confused, since it's still 2005-03-07, as I post this. Is the date/time stamp at Craigslist a full day off?)
posted by ericb at 4:39 PM on April 7, 2005 (created on 01-Nov-2004 ) and (created on 15-Feb-2005) are registered to:
Davis, William
904 Hammond Court
Bel Air, MD 21014 US
We Cows in Space can see where you live!

Mr. Moo
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on April 7, 2005

The following can be seen when viewing "source" of the linked blog: Bovine Blog

Ah, very interesting ... viewing the source is no longer possible.

Very clever cows are erasing their tracks!
posted by ericb at 5:25 PM on April 7, 2005

I recognize that it's just not cool around here to like marketing and advertising

The point to laughing at the companies that pay for entertaining crap like this isn't that it's somehow wrong to enjoy entertaining crap. It's that there's zero evidence this kind of "purely whimsical" viral marketing campaign works to, you know, boost sales. Seriously, how many of these have there been in the last five years? What percentage of them do you think achieved any kind of significant sales impact? According to friends in the ad biz, it's far less than you think. We're all just too good at enjoying the whimsy and blocking out the oh-so-earnest sales pitch.

Which makes stuff like this nothing more than a scam being played on folks who just can't bear to accept the news that campaigns like this are a sad joke. More power to the creatives who get away with "whimsy" as their day jobs, I guess. But Craigslist had the exact right idea about how to handle it.

Very clever cows are erasing their tracks!

Very embarrassed cows don't like Toto pulling the curtain back. The folks who pay for the "Great and Powerful Wizard" show might be reading.
posted by mediareport at 7:05 PM on April 7, 2005

But Craigslist had the exact right idea about how to handle it.

I have never used Craigslist. Question: can a user delete their own posting at Craigslist?
posted by ericb at 5:09 AM on April 8, 2005

My bet goes to it being a a viral for Organic Valley Milk.
It appears that Organic Valley was giving away "Bovine Unite" posters as a premium for people who participated in an "advisors survey" already way back in early January. Scroll down to find "Free Bovine Unite Poster and $5 in Organic Valley Coupons" link. Sadly, google does not have a cache of the link. Anyone able to find another cache?
posted by dabitch at 4:01 AM on April 21, 2005

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