Monday, November 16, 2009

California's Happy Cows are from New Zealand

The California Milk Advisory Board is about to film a new series of ads about California happy cows. I'm sure most of you have seen these ads on TV. Wide open green pastures with happy cows contently grazing on grass. It seems that the cows in California are not that happy and filming of the new ads will take place in New Zealand. The real reason is cost, film production is expensive in California, and many movies, TV shows and commercials are now being filmed out of state and country. So the next time you see a commercial for California happy cows chances are they are New Zealand cows.

It seems that this post has come to the attention of the California Milk Advisory Board. In fairness here is their view on where California's Happy Cows are being filmed:
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., & MODESTO, Calif. – November 16, 2009 – California’s dairy cow population, and their millions of loyal fans, can rest assured that the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has always and will always film its California “Happy Cows” in the Golden State using California production resources. In an official statement, the CMAB today reiterated these facts and its disappointment with a Los Angeles Times article that spurred several inaccurate media stories and cast a shadow over the popular campaign.

“It’s time to set the record straight,” said Michael Freeman, vice president of advertising for the CMAB. “ABC7, and the Los Angeles Times, which originated the story, misreported Friday that the California Milk Advisory Board is filming new “Happy Cow” commercials in New Zealand. This is completely untrue. The board is filming a portion of its new “Auditions” campaign on a sound stage in New Zealand. These new commercials feature UN-happy cows from all over the world auditioning to come to beautiful California. All commercials showing happy California cows, including the ones shown during several news broadcasts on ABC7 in San Francisco and Sacramento last Friday, were filmed – and will always be filmed – entirely in California. Additionally, though a portion of the Auditions production is going overseas to take advantage of greater cost efficiencies, more than 90% of the CMAB’s advertising production budget will be spent in California next year.”

Four days of work on the new Auditions campaign will be filmed in New Zealand while an additional six-to-eight weeks of post-production activities for each of the 10 spots will take place in California. The breakdown of California-based work versus overseas work is 100 to 1.

“It’s unfortunate that during a year that’s seen the worst economic devastation in the U.S. dairy industry since the Great Depression the media chose to focus on this small detail rather than on the economic impact the economy is having on an industry that contributes so greatly to the state’s bottom line,” said Stan Andre, CEO of the CMAB. “In 2009, California has seen 10 percent of its dairies shut down. Others are hanging on by a thread. Yet, these hard-working dairy farmers continue to produce the quality dairy products we’ve come to expect in this state at below the cost of production. They need our help, not the dissemination of incorrect information that is damaging to one of the few tools on their side: the highly successful California Happy Cows advertising campaign.”

The latest economic impact data available, from 2007, shows that the California dairy industry provided 435,000 jobs to the state. These include on-the-farm and beyond-the-farm jobs in transportation, processing and retail.