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NORWALK, Conn. -- Stew Leonard's here recently undertook to make a serious television commercial at its dairy farm in Ellington, Conn., but apparently some blooper-filled footage that initially was headed for the cutting-room floor was better. So, the quirky independent grocer instead cut a humorous version of the ad and posted it on Web.
Cow or Stew's lovers can find the funny ad, "Stew Leonard's Dairy Outtakes," on YouTube.com as well as the grocer's own Web site, stewleonards.com.
The same ad is also airing on cable TV in Westchester and Fairfield counties, on channels including ESPN, Food Network, Lifetime, the History Channel, Discovery and USA, Stew Leonard's v.p. of public relations Meghan Flynn told Progressive Grocer.
Although enough serious footage was filmed to make the original commercial, outtakes from the shoot were fashioned into a 30-second spot, showing President and c.e.o. Stew Leonard Jr. attempting in vain to corral a camera-shy cow.
Stew Jr. described the strategy gone awry. "We wanted to highlight that our milk arrives fresh every day to our stores straight from our dairy farm, where it is then pasteurized and packaged in our Norwalk store dairy plant, right in front of customers," he explained. "We thought, what better way to show that our milk goes from farm to shelf in as little as six hours, than to film at our dairy farm? Apparently, the cows did not get the script."
When he screened both ads for team members and friends, most preferred the funny ad.
"The outtake commercial demonstrates that while Stew Leonard, Jr. takes his products and customer service seriously, he's not afraid to poke fun at himself," noted Harvey Hoffenberg, president of New Canaan, Conn.-based Propulsion in New Canaan, Conn., producer of the commercials. "Whenever you do a shoot with animals, there is always an element of uncertainty, but the cows were particularly uncooperative the day we were filming. You just can't script this stuff."
Stew Leonard's, a family-owned and operated fresh food store, operates three stores in Norwalk and Danbury, Conn. and Yonkers, N.Y., with a fourth store slated to open in early 2007 in Newington, Conn. Progressive Grocer has named Stew Leonard's an Outstanding Independent for 2007.