The "Ben & Jerry's®" Story
"In the spring of 1983, I had just left New York City when someone named
Ben Cohen left a message on the answering machine at the Brooklyn loft
of my just-ex-girlfriend. Thankfully, she passed it along.
I had been to
the Ben & Jerry's gas station in Burlington a couple of times, but I
didn't really know anything about the ice cream duo. Ben had seen my
prints at Frame of Mind in the Champlain Mill in Winooski and wanted me
to do a billboard design for the Portland or Boston area and a tee
Ben was like a hyper kinetic Santa Claus who bore right into the matter
at hand, although with a disarming laugh. The company had painted a
rather cartoonish cow on their trucks, but they thought my cows were
what was needed. They also thought it was a good fit between two Vermont
enterprises, and they like to support Vermont artists. Ben was working
with Chico Lager at the time and they were quite generous with the
royalty on the tee shirts, and paid, I think, $500 for the billboard
One year later, they began to use my images on other parts of
their shops and business and we made a licensing agreement so that my
cows could be made part of Ben & Jerry's all over the country. The cows
gave B&J's an instantly powerful trademark which has helped the ice
cream guys to become world-renowned. It hasn't hurt me, either. I still
love to see the big semis rolling down Interstate 89 covered with Woody
cows. It is a real thrill.
Thanks, guys...". - W.J.