Watch this TV ad. Pay close attention around 0:23.

Did you see the guy in the Cow Clicker t-shirt? Pretty crazy. I posted about this on Facebook and Twitter, but here’s a bit more information about how that may have come to pass.

The Gruen Transfer is an Australian TV show about the operation of advertising, specifically how particular advertising tactics attempt to alter people’s attitudes and behavior. The show borrows its name from Gruen Transfer phenomenon, which is in turn named after architect Victor Gruen, an early designer of shopping malls. The Gruen Transfer names the moment when a shopper loses track of his or her original intentions upon entering a deliberately confusing physical environment.

On the show, a panel of experts discusses the techniques and examples presented by the host. The guy in the Cow Clicker t-shirt is Todd Sampson, one of the frequent panelists and CEO of Leo Burnett, Sydney. (For those of you who haven’t spent time in advertising, Leo Burnett is a very large and famous advertising firm, started by the adman who invented the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, and many other famous icons of advertising.)

It turns out that Todd Sampson keeps a wardrobe of unusual t-shirts. In fact, a fan of the show has a website archiving his garb. There are also several Facebook pages dedicated to “Todd Sampson’s Shirts.” How he got a Cow Clicker tee, I can’t say, nor can I confirm if he actually clicks on cows.

As for the network’s decision to include this particular shirt in the TV ad, well I think that’s clear, isn’t it? Cute, clickable cows make people more likely to do what you suggest.

published July 20, 2011


  1. LP

    The best show on Australian television! And even when everyone else disagrees with him, I always agree with Todd. Love him.