Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
July 4, 2008
Be wary if a PR firm wants to give your big bovine a makeover. That’s the lesson learned by Janesville, Wisconsin, whose longtime icon Bessie the Cow recently had a large Spanish mantilla plopped on her head.
The idea was to draw attention to a taco stand that was opening next to Bessie. But some residents of Janesville had apparently never seen a black, lacey mantilla — a traditional Spanish woman’s headpiece — or at least not one that big on a cow’s head. Some people thought that Bessie was in mourning. Others thought that she had been vandalized by punk kids.
Of course in the world of PR strategy, this headwear fiasco is ultimately a success, as news outlets milk the story for its dopey “lighter side.” If they’d started with a sombrero, we might be the only ones covering it (and maybe not even us).
But that tactic is short-lived. We’re just driving too fast to process nuance in our roadside titans. If you’re going to dress up something 20 feet tall, forget subtle. Give the neighborhood goliath a whole new outfit, or just go completely insane.
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