A Real Head Turner

Q. Why  is there a statue of a cow with purple spots on Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden?

–Courtney Ring, 10, Winter Garden

A. Amazingly, the sight of this bovine grazing on a foggy morning inspired Jimi Hendrix to write the classic “Purple Haze.’’  Or maybe not.

Actually the cow is the mascot of Purple Cow Productions. Joe Marotta and his wife, Ann, started the company in 1995, moving two years ago to the Plant Street location, a converted house. They decided they needed an attention-getter, and since the cow took up residence in the front yard seven months ago there’s been a steady stream of visitors requesting to pose with it for pictures. Most notable, says Marotta, was a local church group called Church on Wednesdays (yes, COW).

In pop culture, the purple cow seems to have its origins in an eight-line poem of the same name published by San Francisco poet Gelett Burgess in 1895. Burgess became so well known for  the whimsical ditty, he grew to hate it. But the purple cow came to symbolize something out of the ordinary.

So how did the Marottas decide on the name? One hundred years after Burgess wrote his poem, the couple were driving near San Francisco, discussing what they should name their new company, when they saw a solid purple cow statue standing among a field of real ones.

“We thought, well, that would be kind of a cool name because the cow got us to stop and look at it,’’ says Joe Marotta. “And that’s what we were hoping to get people to do with our company. So it fit.’’

That’s very important in today’s business world, with so much at steak.


Q. What’s up with that TV commercial in which the foreclosure lawyers are talking to one another, then suddenly turn toward the camera at the same time?

A. The first time Answer Man saw this 30-second ad for Ticktin Law Group, he thought of prairie dogs. You’ve seen the cute rodents on Discovery Channel standing around discussing things like whether they should let the bank have the burrow, when suddenly the group wheels around as one to stare down an intruder.

Except in the Ticktin commercial, it’s 13 attorneys gabbing earnestly in an office, totally absorbed with one another while a voice urges the viewer, “If your property is upside down…see us.’’ And then, without warning, the lawyers only have eyes for you.

Peter Ticktin, head of the Deerfield Beach-based law firm, which has an office in Orlando, says he wanted to project an image of a group that acts as a team. So he turned to Parallax Productions, a South Florida company, which came up with the torso twist.

“I knew we needed something to emphasize the point that we are concerned with the clients,’’ Ticktin says. “So all the attorneys looked at the viewer on the word ‘You.’’’

Sure enough, the turning point comes 13 seconds into the commercial, when the narrator says “YOU need to know your options.’’

These were actual attorneys, not actors, which may help explain why the director needed about 20 takes to get everybody turning on cue. We feel their (neck) pain.

Answer Man welcomes your questions about the Orlando area. Send queries to

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