Cow Parade

By The Drum, Administrator

November 30, 2005 | 4 min read

In an ever more competitive market, getting in front of your customers in new and imaginative ways is a must. Ambient advertising is one of the buzz-words that has emerged in the marketer’s quest to preach to the unsuspecting public with their gospel.

However, next spring, Edinburgh will be offering a slightly more unusual than normal communications opportunity. If you look at it that way. Cows.

The cows are coming to Edinburgh. CowParade has wowed cities around the world, including Sydney, New York, Prague and Barcelona. Now, for the first time in Scotland, the world’s biggest public art event will see hundreds of life size porcelain cows grazing Edinburgh’s historic streets from next May.

And creative agencies have the chance to get involved and design one of the bovines for clients. Or even themselves...

CowParade was first launched in Zurich in 1998, with the fibreglass cattle modelled on real Swiss cows. Initially founded as a commercial venture to attract a higher footfall to a shopping area, the event has grown into a worldwide event.

For ten weeks, the cows will inhabit Edinburgh’s cityscape, creating an unforgettable ‘urban pasture’. Residents and visitors can expect to see cows at some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and public spaces, and there are sure to be cows grazing in some unexpected locations too.

Designers have been asked to submit designs for CowParade Edinburgh, which will form a cow portfolio, using the cow and the city for inspiration.

Local businesses and other organisations will have the chance to sponsor a cow. They can choose a cow from the portfolio of designs from artists and celebrities, or sponsor a blank cow and commission their own designs. The only specified remit is that any design must not include a firm’s actual branding. A challenge to be met by the designers.

Sponsoring a cow through the Cow-munity scheme could see the cow used in a community project involving a school, charity or other community group.

At the end of the CowParade, some of the Edinburgh herd will go to market – a gala auction, with 75 per cent of the net proceeds from the auction going to charity. The OneCity Trust, which aims to tackle social exclusion through a range of community projects, and VETAID, which works to alleviate poverty through sustainable farming in developing countries, are set to benefit from the auction.

The event, supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, hopes to enhance Edinburgh’s reputation as the UK’s leading events city.

Charlie Langhorn, managing director of CowParade Europe, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to host a CowParade event in Edinburgh as one of the world’s leading cultural destinations. It is important that CowParade reflects the unique character of each of its host cities. We have assembled a small core team of Edinburgh-based professionals experienced in project management, sponsorship and marketing to ensure that this event uniquely brings together local communities, businesses and the creative sector to celebrate the spirit and rich diversity which is at the very heart of Edinburgh.”

Stephen Gallagher, executive director of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, added: “CowParade has already visited a number of leading European and US cities and we are delighted to be supporting the event. CowParade will be one of the UK's must see events of 2006, helping to attract more visitors to the city and promoting Edinburgh as a dynamic and cultural capital city to people from across the world.”

For more details of how you or your client can get involved in the CowParade, visit the website All finished designs must be submitted by 20 December.


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