Are you wearing a dead cow?

YES! You read it right the first time. Are you wearing a dead cow?

If you are one of the many millions in the planet that drool over designer brand names – from wallets, handbags, clutch bags and so forth – you have rightly earned the misnomer of a “wearer of dead cows”. In fact – you’d rather die than to be seen without your “dead cow” when you go out.

It’s all about the BRAND. Yes – talk to the uninitiated, the dizzy, affluent young men and women these days and they will declare their undying love for brand names like LV, Gudchie, Podah and so on. Sorry – I cannot use the real names otherwise I’ll end up with a lawsuit.

And these are the same people who will pay RM6,000 for a bag. Sometimes more, depending on the model, design and ‘perceived’ value of the,…. errr…dead cow.

Okay – let’s get to the bottom of the origins of the word BRAND. Where does the word come from? According to the QandA website (, the word brand comes from a root word meaning “burn”.

Interesting. Why “burn?” Read this excerpt from

to brand: …to mark indelibly, as proof of ownership, or sign of quality, or for any other purpose; to impress (a word, letter, or device) by way of brand. (Oxford English Dictionary)

A brand is an identifying symbol, words, or mark that distinguishes a product or company from its competitors.

With roots in farming and cattle ranching, the word brand has come a long way indeed. In the world of advertising the meaning of the word brand was first expanded in the late 1950s when David Ogilvy of Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, created “brand-image” advertising.

Strictly speaking, the word brand connotes ownership and associated rights. Just as the branding of a herd of calves identified its owner and set the herd apart from the herds of other farmers, so does the brand (name, logo, colors) of this can of beef soup identify the producer and distinguish it from that other can of beef soup. The original use of the word brand in marketing and advertising was limited to the name and/or mark given to a product or service and used almost always in the meaning synomymous with the term trademark, the legal term that indicates certain rights of ownership.

Let me illustrate this brand thingy further. In the early days of the west (in America), cattle farming was popular amongst the pioneers of the country. So let’s say there is Farmer A and Farmer B who lived close to each other.

Now Farmer A has 100 cows. And Farmer B has 150 cows. Because they lived nearby each other, the cows (and bulls included) will tend to graze in the fields together. And naturally being cows (and bulls), it won’t identify itself as “hey, I belong to Farmer A”.

So at the end of the day, when the cows go home (maybe that’s where the popular phrase “talking till the cows come home originated) – Farmers A & B will have a hard time identifying which cow is his, and which belong to Farmer B.

Mind you, in the old days of the West, cattle poaching was the in-thing too. And cattle poachers will usually end up with a bullet in their heads.

So, to arrest the problem of knowing which cows (and bulls included) belong to Farmers A and B, they decided to use a hot iron, also known as branding iron. This iron will be placed over a flame and when it is really hot, slapped onto the poor cow’s rear. Read: backside!

So that the poor cow can easily be identified from then onwards as Farmer A or B’s cow. No more farmers quarrelling over which cow belongs to whom. No more dead human bodies ending up in the gully too!

Advertising professionals then used “branding” to differentiate their clients’ products from their competitors. So today we have the Toyota brand, the Honda brand. And many many more examples.

As an advertising creative, I have no qualms against branding. Nope. It is my bread and butter anyways!

But yes – I have a fight against the indiscriminate, senseless and inhumane killing of living beings all for the sake of meeting the aesthetic needs of people who think walking around town with a dead cow, dead walrus, dead elephant and more  will boost their image!

Get real!

The RM6,000 clutch bag will look even better on the original owners – the animals themselves. Who gave us humans the right to kill? Alright – we may argue that we kill to eat. But seriously, do we really eat elephants, tigers, walruses, beavers and the oh so cute koala bears as part of our daily dietary needs?

We need to change our mindset. Every living creature has a right to live. They are not raised, nor hunted in the wilds just to end up as beauty accessories to humans who think walking around with a dead animal is great fun!


2 thoughts on “Are you wearing a dead cow?

  1. as a human natural greed, explorace, full of curiosity…what rare make you want more..
    I imagine how we look with feather of chicken…emm

  2. Go vegetarian …. make leaves, flowers, fruits, roots into famous branded accessories and wear them. hehe

    But then again, is there a vegetable rights group?

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