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Hello, Clover fans, my name is Dan Benedetti. My father, Gene Benedetti, was one of the founders of Clover Stornetta Farms and today my son, Marcus Benedetti, is the President and CEO. This is the first occasion I have had to speak to you good folks through this blog and I am very happy to have the opportunity to do so. I chose today for my first blog entry because I would like to tell you about a great man that meant a lot to us here at Clover, and especially meant a lot to Miss Clo the Cow. I worked with this man for many years before my retirement and I can honestly say he was one of the most creative, funny and downright witty individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life. He passed away recently and I would like to share some of his Clover story with you.
Jim Benefield came onto the Clover radar when in the 1970’s he became a partner in the Santa Rosa advertising agency we worked with. My father had a long standing relationship with Lee Levinger, the agency’s founder, and together they conspired to create our beloved mascot, Clo the Cow. The billboards Clover has become known for over the years were also an idea from the mind of Lee.
Clo was gaining some popularity in her billboard career in the early 1960’s, some cute puns and positive feedback from consumers, but it wasn’t until Jim Benefield stepped on the scene that Clo the Cow became a household name. As I mentioned before, Jim had a great sense of humor; that wonderful, dry type that can unexpectedly send you into stitches of laughter. Lucky for us, Jim was able to translate his humor into a few catchy words that lent themselves to illustrations.
When Jim joined Lee Levinger at the ad agency Clo billboards had been around for nearly 10 years, but the clever puns he created shot Clo into the next level of stardom. His creativity never ceased to amaze us here at Clover and the public seemed to like it a lot, too.
Jim’s most important and least recognized quality is what every creative ad person should aspire to: the pride of ownership in Clo that was projected in his work, that nurturing, fatherly pride of a man that was driven to always protect and project that which he helped to bring to life.
I could go on about all the wonderful things Jim brought to our company, but I think it would be best for you to see for yourselves. So, I invite you to raise a glass of milk to the memory of Jim Benefield. Enjoy!