Tagline: A French Favorite
Have you laughed today?
branded La Vache Qui Rit (pronounced as La Vash Kee Ree) company group Bel Group produces its own variety of processed cheese. It was this kind of cheese that made the company famous, brought it to the international market and singled it out among hundreds of others like it. Cheese factory Bel in the French town of Orgelet was founded in 1865, later a factory appeared in the city of Lons-le-Saunier in the province of Jura. The owner of the factory, Léon Bel, is considered the inventor of the cheese variety, which was named - La Vache Qui Rit, "The Laughing Cow" or "The Laughing Cow". There is a version that the cheese maker simply accumulated a large amount of leftover cheeses that were not sold in the difficult post-war period, and he decided to mix everything and try to sell again. True or not, it is not known, but processed cheese, which is made from cream, milk, fresh and aged cheeses, and then pasteurized, has become quite popular because of its taste, soft texture and ability to be stored for a long time. For the first time, cheese produced using Bela technology was put on sale in France in 1921. It was the first cheese to receive a national patent in France.
The first image of the "Laughing Cow" was made by the owner of the factory and the inventor of the brand, Leon Bel. Although the true author of the drawing is illustrator Benjamin Rabier, and Leon Bel only tried to copy the image that he saw a few years earlier on freight cars carrying food during the First World War. The sign with a cow was called Wachkyrie, which echoes the word "Valkyrie" (a warrior from Scandinavian mythology), which also echoes the chosen name for the cheese - La Vache Qui Rit.
|1978 promotional poster (Les Arts Decoratifs)
The original recorded drawing by Leon Bel was different from what we see today. In 1923, the cow acquires a red color and earrings in her ears, in honor of her third birthday. An unpleasant story for the owner of the company was connected with these changes. According to some sources, a printer named Vercasson, who introduced innovations to the logo, managed to register a new design in his name under the name "Red Cow" and Bel was forced to pay compensation for using his own logo.
On the logo La Vache Qui Rit and on the packages of processed cheeses themselves there is a head of a cow with earrings in the ears, on which is the same cow with earrings on which ... In general, the image is endless, which introduces especially impressionable buyers into a kind of trance, supported by the general absurdity of the picture, this effect is called the effect Droste (Droste effect). Over time, they tried to make the cow less frightening; in the first images, it most of all resembles some kind of demonic creature. But the designers did not abandon the realistic image, did not go in the direction of cartoonishness and caricature, apparently trying to preserve the traditions of the company. The logo has remained almost unchanged for several decades, only the shape of the earrings has changed slightly and the flag of France has been added, emphasizing nationality.
In all countries, the brand name is translated into the buyers' native language, moving away from the unreadable French name. In Russian translation, curds are called - Merry Burenka. Apparently, a cow that is not just red and with earrings in the form of cheese packages in its ears, but also laughs - it was already too much for Russian marketers. In Ukraine, cheese is known under the brand name Vesela Korivka. Also, residents of more than 90 countries of the world can buy it. One of the indicators of the popularity of the brand can be a huge number of imitations, one of the most famous cases is a French cheese called “Serious cow” as opposed to "The Laughing Cow".
There is one interesting story connected with this brand, which has nothing to do with cheese.
In 1941, the legendary German submarine ace Günter Prien, who became famous for the fact that in 1939 he made his way into the waters of the well-defended English naval base of Scapa Flow, died in his U-47 submarine. Only one ship was sunk, the battleship Royal Oak, which was considered obsolete. But the moral significance of this daring attack was enormous! After the end of the operation, Prien himself painted on the wheelhouse of his boat the emblem of an angry bull, which eventually received the nickname "Bull of Scapa Flow".
After the death of Prien, an order appears that henceforth the "bull of Scapa Flow" becomes the official emblem of the entire Seventh U-Boot Flotilla, based in Saint-Nazaire, France. U-69, which had not really had time to prove itself at that time, was also included in it. It so happened that no one on the boat received a sketch of the new emblem, and they did not want to ask other crews. The command of U-69 went the other way - it was decided to find any image of a cow or a bull and simply redraw it. Which is what was done. And the packaging of cheese served as the original La Vache qui Rit. So the "bull of Scapa Flow" got a girlfriend.
And apparently the “Laughing Cow” (in the image of which there was something demonic) really brought good luck - U-69 became famous for its daring sortie to the shores of the African continent, during which the waters of several busy African ports were mined. As in the case of U-47, these actions were of great moral importance. Separately, it should be noted the case when it was possible to sink the English auxiliary cruiser St Anselm, and not with torpedoes, but in an artillery duel - an enterprise obviously hopeless for a submarine. The Laughing Cow's abnormal luck ended on February 17, 1943, when she was sunk by depth charges from the English destroyer Viscount.