CAMPAIGNS: BRAND AWARENESS; A medium-rare ad opportunity

Client: MarketingNet PR Team: Axiom and Beer Davies Campaign: On-cow advertising Timescale: Ongoing from 7 May, 1996 Cost: pounds 2,000

Client: MarketingNet

PR Team: Axiom and Beer Davies

Campaign: On-cow advertising

Timescale: Ongoing from 7 May, 1996

Cost: pounds 2,000

MarketingNet is a small Internet marketing company set up in April of

1995 by partners Pauline and Matthew Bickerton. In conjunction with

Upkar Pardesi, Dean of the University of Central England Business School

the Bickertons co-authored a CIM publication called Cybermarketing

published by Butterworth-Heinemann Limited.

Axiom were brought in to publicise the launch of the book set for

Tuesday 28 May, having previously organised website launches for many of

MarketingNet’s clients.


To promote the launch of Cybermarketing, and raise brand awareness for



Three weeks before the launch of Cybermarketing at Birmingham’s Surf

Cafe, Richard Strange, a partner at Axiom, explored the possibilities of

promoting MarketingNet to those en route to the event.

At first he considered using the Milton Keynes concrete cows, but

eventually he decided to use live cows as a fun and topical medium.

In the light of the furore following the Government’s decision on 2 May

to destroy cattle over 30 months old, Strange singled out the cows of

farmer, Harry Goode. A ‘clean’ herd, fed only on natural products, they

had the additional attraction of residing in a field overlooking the

M42, just south of Solihull.

On 21 May a press release was issued announcing the move of Harry

Goode’s cows ‘into the field of advertising’, with an invitation to a

photocall on the following bank holiday Monday. Axiom had requests from

Sky, Reuters, the BBC and ITV for early photo opportunities and an

exclusive offer from the Mirror, but turned them down.

However, on the Thursday afternoon, Eugene Beer, of Beer Davies - UK PR

handlers for Ben and Jerry’s icecream - approached Axiom, with the idea

of a simultaneous campaign. Strange and Bickerton agreed in the belief

that this would widen their own publicity - especially in the US.

At 5am on 27 May Strange and Pauline Bickerton found themselves in a wet

field, dressing six cows in MarketingNet coats and two in Ben and

Jerry’s. Six Range Rovers were laid on to transport journalists from the

nearest carpark a mile away and a marquee was erected, providing

icecream, and copies of Cybermarketing.

At lunchtime, one of the cows gave birth and the press returned the next

day for a photoshoot of the mother and the calf named ‘Cyber’.


On launch day, MarketingNet sold 700 hard copies of the book and

received 14,000 hits on its Internet site.

Press coverage of the cows ranged from the Birmingham Post to the

Financial Times and the Sun. The Big Breakfast, BBC1 Breakfast TV and

Radio 4’s Today also carried the story. International interest included

Reuters TV, France 2, Sky and CNN.


A cheap, creative way of using a hot news topic. Bickerton says: ‘I

never expected it to take off.’ But after weeks of depressing editorial

on BSE, the media grabbed this story as a breath of fresh air. The

novelty value of the cows may have overshadowed the book launch, but

MarketingNet sent a successful brand message to prospective clients. Who

says British beef is bad for you?

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