¡Vacas Contentas!
Pamela Accetta Smith
Senior Editor
(847) 405-4069

I recently became aware that California’s Happy Cows are capturing the hearts of America’s Hispanic population, just as they have with English-speaking audiences. After just six months of national exposure for the Spanish-language versions of the Happy Cows commercials on network Spanish-language television, research has shown that two-thirds of the Hispanic women (66 percent) surveyed were aware of the ads.
More importantly, 62 percent reported purchasing California cheese, an increase from just 11 percent six months earlier, according to the study conducted by Applied Research Inc.
“This research shows that our Spanish-speaking Happy Cows aren’t just raising awareness but creating a meaningful connection with California cheese in the minds of Hispanic consumers,” says Michael Freeman, vice president of advertising for the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).
The ads represent the CMAB’s whimsical contention that “Great cheese comes from Happy Cows. Happy Cows come from California,” or for Spanish-speaking viewers, “El Buen Queso Viene de Vacas Contentas. Las Vacas Contentas Viven en California.” The commercials were successfully tested last year in Texas and, as a result of the positive response, the CMAB decided to launch them nationally in January 2006.
“We’ve found that the Happy Cows’ unique brand of humor truly transcends language — a rare occurrence in advertising,” says Freeman. “The Hispanic community is very important to us and we’re delighted the Spanish-language ads are resonating as well as the English versions have.”
Since their introduction in late 2000, the Happy Cows commercials have won several advertising awards and have played an important role in the Real California Cheese promotional campaign that has increased visibility for California cheese across the country.
A true sign of the times, I think the push towards more cross-cultural marketing is admirable.
I would like to see the industry delve even deeper.  
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) is an arm of the California Department of Food and Agriculture funded by the state’s more than 2,000 dairy families. Established in 1969, the CMAB is based in Modesto, Calif., and is one of the largest commodity boards in the United States. Under the dairy umbrella, the CMAB executes generic advertising, publicity, retail and foodservice promotions and research programs on behalf of California dairy products, including Real California Cheese.
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