How to brand a cow

Category: iCow Blog

The lead up to this event was a well thought out plan of awarding a farmer a cow. Sponsors were sought and a plan put in place to do an official hand over with branded insignia for PR purpose as well as to give the sponsors due recognition.

Straight forward. Simple. Even.

Co-ordinating the cow hand over was a nightmare of note. It included paying for said cow, sending farmer to select said cow and transporting her to his farm, getting Company 1 PR guys to his farm ...getting the pre-designed branded materials delivered to office and after which, with branding underarm, getting photographers and teams to the farm site.


The planned 2.00pm hand over required all the moving pieces to be in one place, at that time. However Murphy arrived first.


 He delayed the start of the office photo shoot and vanquished the branding.


The branding was HUGELY important. Ordered weeks before. Promised on D Day.


The office shoot continued whilst awaiting the branding supposedly being ferried by a boda boda10km or 20 minutes away.


The farmer meanwhile travelled to the farm from where he would select, purchase and transport the said cow home. By 1.30pm he was on point.

With cow and heading home.

PR team from Company 1 were on route too.



With word from the Art Guys’ Assistant of the branding rider going AWOL the office shoot wrapped and the team set off to cow destination at 2.00 pm.


By 2.30 pm plan B was devised from within the Subaru where team and photographer had reached the point of anger being pointless.


PIan B required finding a colour printer and branding artwork on email. Alternatives of rescheduling, cancelling or a handing over ceremony without any branding being ruled out.


Rescheduling would remove spontaneity from the event. The farmer would have to improvise and 'act' out his feelings and the cow, now accustomed to it's new home the same. Not easy.

In the interim it could die!


We risk being considered half wits!


Cancelling would amount to the same. Worse. No evidence. No PR. The CEO would be considered a half wit by all but the cow. The cow would not be privy to the unfolding and ensuing drama.



Brandingless handover? Very probable but pointless in the eyes of the ‘Brandees’.



Alternative plan C from foreign observer (via whatsapp) Spray paint the branding on the said cow.

Plan C was appreciated, explored, used as light entertainment then promptly abandoned.

However Plan C was considered admissible considering being hacked together in Banana Hill in the wake of a rare eclipse… a Subaru (it could be worse…Probox?)

All would be considered half wits.

Including the cow and foreign whatsaap observer.



Plan B required getting artwork from Art Guy.

Art Guy meanwhile beyond apologetic for AWOL branding, experienced a creativity block 60 km (4 hours in Nairobi traffic) away from his computer.

Required branding art work was in Art Guys computer.

He promised he would find a way.



Hanging on faith, Subaru team discover cyber café with colour printer in Banana Hill and whilst waiting for email from Art guy, purchased necessary kindergarten colouring kit for ensuing art class.


Team Subaru ate crisps. And waited.


3.30 pm. Company 1 PR team at farm threat to call it a day. Team Subaru respond we are on our way. Two minutes away J



Team Subaru eat more crisps.


Email arrives and printing gets underway.


Art session opens on the car bonnet. A banner and rosette in record time!


Mr AWOL was apparently held up by police after being robbed.


Art work continues.




Brand the cow!


She is beautiful.

Heavy with child she lay exhausted after her trip.

Cows are best branded whilst standing.


Nudged by her new proud owner she finally stands.

Doing the sellotape thing the rosette sticks to her cheek.

Her ear tag shows her name is Draper

Draper is cute with her new rosette


Considering the photo shoot will only capture one side of a cow, only half a banner was made.

Imagine sticking a tea towel on one side of a cow.

It fell off.

Sellotape does not stick well to cow hair. Gravity and cow hair complicate cow branding.


Draper stands patiently.

The banner is finally anchored over the back of the cow with the roll of sellotape stuck to the banner.

The spool dangles down her side and under her belly.

It can be seen.

It’s adjusted out of view.


Sellotape is suddenly the most important item when branding a cow.

The banner holds.



With Draper, draped with a spool of sellotape the shoot begins..



Her name is fitting.

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