A Cow That’s Not So Sacred

Has the use of cows in marketing reached, well, a tipping point? Cartoony spokescows are great. We’ve got California Cheese’s happy cows, who ogle each other. We have Gateway’s talking cow and its cow-design packaging (although its “Rubber Stress Cow” toy was recalled because kids were in danger of choking on it).

The problem is, real-life, nontalking cows are different. They’re bulky. They’re sometimes mad. They get cut up by Damien Hirst. Which makes an upcoming Dairy Queen promotion a bit of a head-scratcher. “Dairy Queen invites you to bring your favorite cow—the authentic, living, four-legged, bovine variety—to any participating Dairy Queen or DQ Grill & Chill location nationwide from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, for a coffee break, and receive a free MooLatté,” a press release says.

You have to ask: Who approved this idea? Does DQ want cows traipsing through its restaurants just as patrons are digging into their double cheeseburgers? More important, what are those of us in cowless New York City supposed to do? (Never mind, there apparently isn’t a single DQ in Manhattan, it turns out.)

There has also been talk in certain circles that “MooLatté,” the name DQ gave its new frozen blended coffee beverage, sounds a bit too much like “mulatto,” which many consider an un-P.C. term.

What’s DQ’s stand on the promotion? “The cows come to the stores but don’t go in them,” says DQ rep Dean Peters. Our advice? Next time, don’t have a cow at all, man.