August 1, 2011 / 9:05 PM / in 8 years

Iconic cow sign in South Carolina survives brand change

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - The Coburg Cow, a big, rotating bovine that has stood alongside a busy suburban highway in Charleston, South Carolina since 1959, will remain at its post despite a name change by the dairy it advertised.

A rotating sign known as "the Coburg Cow" stands on Savannah Highway in Charleston, South Carolina, August 1, 2011. Despite a name change to Borden by the dairy it advertised, the Coburg Cow sign will stay up. REUTERS/Harriet McLeod

In July, Coburg Dairy LLC, which employs about 220 people, became the Borden Dairy Company of South Carolina as part of Borden’s product relaunch in six Southeastern states.

Some locals worried that the iconic cow might not survive.

“We have no plans to disturb the Coburg Cow,” general manager Ed Medors told Reuters on Monday. “In fact, we’re trying to arrange a meeting between her and our iconic brand, Elsie.”

Elsie, a real cow, has been part of Borden’s advertising campaign since 1937. “She’s older, but we hear they get along fine,” Medors said.

Some version of a cow sign has stood at a corner on Charleston’s Savannah Highway since the 1920s, pointing the way to the Coburg Dairy down the road.

In 1959, Roberts Sign Company built and installed the current three-dimensional model, topped by a neon logo.

Starting in the 1960s, a tradition of “riding the cow” began among high school students and cadets at The Citadel military college in Charleston. The fiberglass animal, known only as “the Coburg Cow,” also has survived vandals, hurricanes and zoning ordinances.

The cow and its milk bottle will continue to be painted seasonally to advertise Coburg eggnog and chocolate milk, Medors said. The cow turns red and green for Christmas, wears a bonnet for Easter and dons a top hat for St. Patrick’s Day.

“She will go right along with her normal routine,” he said.

Without the cow sign, “there’d be lot of folks who would get lost if you were giving them directions,” he said. “They know where that cow is at more than they do anything.”

Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune

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