Early this month, Hotels.nl, a Dutch online reservations company, began outfitting SHEEP in royal blue blankets imprinted with their company logo, at a cost of €1, or $1.23, a day per sheep.
About 144 sheep in flocks throughout the Netherlands are now sponsored by the company. But the idea of commercially branded sheep has prompted a bit of a backlash. The town of Skarsterlan began fining Hotels.nl €1,000 a day for sheep that wear the branded blankets.
Livestock advertising violates the town’s ban on advertising along the highways. “My first reaction was a smile; it is very creative,” said the town’s mayor, Bert Kuiper. “My second reaction is that we have to stop this. If we start with sheep, then next it’s the cows and horses.”
Hotels.nl is poised to pay the fines, but it plans to fight the ban on sheep shirt advertising in court. Since the advertising started, Hotels.nl’s sales are up 15 percent and so are visits to the company’s Web site. They are already planning on expanding, hunting for locations where there are a lot of traffic jams