Happy Cows in TV Commercials

What could top the “Got Milk?” campaign from the 1990s? The Happy Cows campaign from California! Apparently there’s a bit of competition between USA states for buyers of cheese. Hmmm will I get Vermont cheese or California cheese? To help people decide, the California Milk Advisory Board commissioned Deutsch Los Angeles to make some very expensive but very effective TV ads. The result? A series of vignettes in which we are informed that dairy cows living in California just love it there. So the milk has to be better!

Happy Cows in TV Ad


Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.”

On the Real California Cheese web site there are three of the TV spots available. Big Sheep – reminiscent of Braveheart. “Breaking Out” – a dairy farm set in the Arctic, or is it Vermont? “Girl Talk” – what the gender-related chat of cows might sound and look like.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

To see the ads go to www.realcaliforniacheese.com
Click to get past the splash screen, then choose “Happy Cows”, and “Happy Cow TV”.

While you’re there you can even download a happy cows calendar, or purchase a cute and cuddly set of happy cows puppets.

Now what makes this campaign interesting is the ‘anti-campaign’ by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, found at www.unhappycows.com PETA took the California Milk Advisory Board to court for misrepresentation of the lot of dairy cows. According to their suit, dairy cows often have to put up with dusty, muddy and dirty conditions. Picturing them in green fields is misleading. The court suit was unsuccessful. It may have lead to a higher interest in the happy cows. And what do the happy/unhappy cows think of it all I wonder?

Happy Cow Credits

The Happy Cows campaign was developed at advertising agency Deutsch, Los Angeles by a large team, including President/Chief Creative Officer Eric Hirshberg, SVP/Associate Creative Director Karen Costello, SVP/Associate Creative Director Chris Rebeico, SVP/Associate CD/Art Director Michael Kadin, SVP/Associate CD/Copywriter Eric Springer, Sr. Art Director Dave Sakamoto, Art Director Yooly Mukai, Jr. Art Director Rachel Everett, Sr. Copywriter Craig Ghiglione, Jr. Copywriter Hilary Haselton, SVP/Director of Broadcast Production Randy Morton, VP/Executive Producer Steffi Binder, and Agency Producer Rebecca Darvin.

Filming was shot in Petaluma, California by director Chris Hooper, at BOB Industries, Santa Monica, with director of photography Stephan Treschow, executive producer John O’Grady, and producer Karen Rohrbacher.

Editing was done at Chrome Editorial, Santa Monica by Adam Parker and Dean Miyahira.

Colorist was Mike Pethel at Company 3, Santa Monica.

Online Editors were MB Emigh and Christine Goldby at The Syndicate, Santa Monica.

Animation was done by Michael Killen at Animal (also responsible for Taco Bell talking Chihuahua), with graphic artists Kevin Prendiville and Christine Goldy, and producer Kim Evans.

Composer was PJ Hanke at Spank Music, Santa Monica, with executive producer Katie Jones. Audio Engineer was Loren Silber at Lime.

  • KLund1

    Hi,
    I would like to download all the past “Happy Cows” tv ads. Thier web site only has 1 recent one. I would like to get all of them. A few searches on Google did not give any help. Any suggestions?
    Any help would be apriciated!
    KLund1

  • Joe Akers

    Do you write the California Cow commercials? I have what I think is a good ideal for one. Do you take suggestions?

    • Dave

      Hey Joe, please read my comment to Bruce. It’d be a superb idea for a commercial.

  • Bruce

    This campaign is a great example of the power of great advertising. It exemplifies how ads can make an inferior product look like an industry leader. Check out the World Championship Cheese contest results for 2008.

    Awards:
    California = 13
    Wisconsin = 72

    • Dave

      Let me let you in on a little secret: this is 100% false advertising. If you visited a dairy farm in California you’d see cruelty beyond your darkest imagination. Isn’t false advertising illegal? Yes. But with one exception – this ad comes from a government agency, and all government agencies are EXEMPT from false advertising regs.

      Sorry to kill anyones buzz – the truth is rarely pretty. As consumers, we all should know what’s going on and where are money is going.

  • Kathryn Newton

    I’m sorry, but cows should not eat Alfalfa growing in the field or you will not have very happy cows. They will be very sick cows. Obviously whoever writes these commercials knows nothing about cows. I would rewrite that commercial if I were you.

  • Pamela V. Mente

    One question: Shouldn’t Happy Cows come from Cowlaughfornia?

  • Veronika

    They should have a Harvey Milk cow

  • Alana Oelschlegel

    I just loved all the Happy Cows commercials! They really brightened my day every time one came on. I think I liked the “Hit The Snooze”, & Jenn the best but I really enjoyed all of them. I hope if they take the Happy Cows commercials off they come up with another funny idea. AWSOME! Keep up the good work!
    Thank you

  • Diane Mardis

    All I can think of is how horrible cows are treated, not happy. The only one that is happy is the ones making the money over this commercial. Every time I see it I cringe even more. So sad everyone is buying in to this lie.
    Dairy cows aren’t happy they are tortured.

  • abbie

    i wish you hadn’t put the Canadian Cow…hope she doesn’t have mad cow disease…was the first thing i thought of…use to love the commercials til now and all i can think of is Canada and mad cow disease….

    • https://www.facebook.com/marktspencer Mark Spencer

      The U.S also was rife with mad cow disease–but they continually denied it. Instead it was called “downer cow syndrome” The U.S. does a great job of blaming other countries for their food woes…resource: Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman……

  • gilbert

    helo..will pls. add more photos of cow because I am searching for it……how nice u’r pics….very wonder ful……..

  • amanda

    THOSE COWS ACRUALYY ARENT HAPPY AND THEIR ABUSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert J

    Come on the commercials are fiction look at the Actors do you realy think they eat, drink, drive, ect… what they promote it is always about the money and well these ads were created to help the declining dairy industry thats all.. Sorry if you buy in to the whole idea that cows talk and live better lives then most of us..

  • WI Farmer

    famer’s have it hard enough as it is…

  • http://barrylyoung.com barry young

    how much do u tip cows?