Gateway Debuts New Talking Cow Ad

Gateway, Inc. is continuing its current campaign, debuting an ad designed to promote a new system to music lovers.

The spot from the Poway, Calif.-based PC manufacturer shows Chairman and Chief Executive Ted Waitt driving down a desert highway in an 18-wheeler, with the company’s talking Holstein spokes-cow at his side. The cow whips out a homemade music CD — labeled “Cow Mix” — and begins playing Devo’s 1981 hit “Whip It,” to which Waitt and the cow sing along.

The ad then cuts to the Gateway 500X “Music PC”, which Gateway is marketing as an inexpensive way for music fans to rip, burn and listen to digital music. The system comes with DVD-Rom and CD-RW drives, a large and fast hard drive, and a Boston Acoustics speakers and subwoofer setup.

“Digital music is exploding right now, and the benefits of the Gateway 500X music PC are brought to life by Ted and the cow doing what we all do — singing in the car,” said Brad Shaw, Gateway’s senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications.

The spot is the latest in the campaign, which began last fall and which feature Waitt getting tips on how to market Gateway PCs from the cow. In recent ads, the campaign has taking a road trip theme — earlier this month, a new spot showed Waitt and the cow on the road to promote the Gateway Solo 1400se notebook.

“The series of road-inspired TV commercials we’re rolling out now take Ted and the cow away from home and into situations where they can show consumers how Gateway’s technology solutions improve their quality of life with music, video, photography and more,” Shaw said.

The campaign — which like the PC maker’s Holstein-colored boxes, is premised on Waitt’s now-legendary founding of the company on his family’s Iowa cattle farm — was designed by El Segundo, Calif.-based agency of record Siltanen/Keehn.

The company’s current Waitt-centric ads are a marked change from the brand’s past campaigns. In February 2001, hard hit by the slowdown in computer sales, Gateway parted ways with longtime agency McCann-Erickson just days after then-chairman Waitt reassumed the post of CEO, following the resignation of Jeffrey Weitzen. Only a month earlier, Gateway had launched its McCann-designed “People Rule” campaign, featuring actor Michael J. Fox.

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