Capital lures tourists with Cows on Parade, DC-style

WASHINGTON: Those decorative cows adorning the streets of New York and Chicago in recent years have made their way to the nation's capitol - sort of. And Fleishman-Hillard is helping spread the word.

WASHINGTON: Those decorative cows adorning the streets of New York and Chicago in recent years have made their way to the nation's capitol - sort of. And Fleishman-Hillard is helping spread the word.

In an attempt to boost still-sagging tourism, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is placing 200 artfully decorated donkeys and elephants - representing the Democratic and Republican parties - around the city.

The idea originated with Chicago's "Cows on Parade

three years ago, when the city commissioned hundreds of local artists to decorate five-foot-tall polyurethane cows and then placed them around town. New York City followed suit in 2000.

Washington's interpretation of the event, titled "Party Animals," received a grand kick-off last Tuesday with the bipartisan team of first lady Laura Bush and Washington, DC Mayor Anthony Williams. The animals will stay in place throughout the summer, after which they will be auctioned off to benefit the arts commission.

Fleishman's Washington, DC office arranged the kickoff, and promoted it around the country. The media interest thus far has been considerable.

Locally, The Washington Post and The Hill featured front-page pictures of the launch. More than 40 outlets nationwide mentioned the event, including the Today show, CNN, The Miami Herald, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Fleishman, which won the account without a competitive pitch, is targeting niche publications as well as general media by highlighting animals decorated by unlikely artists or in unique ways. For example, a carousel trade magazine was approached about a pair of animals that were decorated in an antique-carousel-horse style.

A second round of publicity will be sought later this summer when Washington, DC opens its "animal hospital,

where damaged donkeys or elephants can go to get fixed.

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