Meet Cooper the Chicken, official Brand Ambassador for University Heights
Remember the Great Chicken Debate of early 2018? After much discussion amongst residents, some of it heated, University Heights adopted an ordinance allowing residents to raise chickens. After all the feather ruffling, only a small handful of residents decided to actually keep chickens.
Fast forward to that autumn, the city introduced a new logo. As part of the branding campaign, City Hall staff ordered the usual promotional items – coffee mugs, pens, frisbees. And for the kids, they decided to create a stuffed animal toy with a new logo t-shirt. Teddy bears, dogs, cats, and deer were discussed, before chickens were suggested.
Perhaps the suggestion was in gest, but the idea of toy chickens quickly grew on staff at City Hall, and several hundred were quickly ordered.
The chicken, however, needed a name.
So, the “Name That Chicken” contest was born. Dozens of kids entered the contest, and all the kids suggested good names. The name “Cooper” was entered by both Clare Dolan and Jackson Lovato. Clare and Jackson received their toy chickens (in addition to other new logo swag items), and the University Heights chicken received his name.
Then, things got really interesting in the spring of 2019.
Folks at City Hall aren’t sure how it happened. But according to local lore, a bag of Bialy’s Mish Mosh Mix somehow got spilled on the Cooper toy at the front desk at City Hall. Most observers blame the interns, but perhaps we’ll never know for sure.
Well, there must have been some magic in that Mish Mosh Mix they found, as when they spilled it on his head, he began to dance around.
It’s a lot like the Frosty the Snowman origin story, but some compare it to that of Spider-Man.
But now that Cooper was alive, but he needed something to do. He needed a purpose. He needed a job.
So, Cooper sat down with the mayor.
Cooper explained how much he loves University Heights. He loves how we’re neighborly, not nosy. Residents here save for college, not Cadillacs. Diversity is celebrated. The streets are lined with sidewalks, trees and beautiful homes.
“Our community’s mosaic,” Cooper explained, “is replete with educational and religious institutions, walkable neighborhoods, local eateries, shopping and nearby amenities. University Heights offers residents the opportunity to build a life by design, find their forever homes and plant roots.
“University Heights has a brand. It’s a beautiful brand. And I can be the ambassador for that brand.”
With that, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan hired Cooper to serve as the city’s first Brand Ambassador.
The mayor made it clear to Cooper that he wouldn’t be getting paid, but that he could live in the basement of City Hall. He could have leftover bagels and pizza from meetings as well.
Cooper made his public debut at the 2019 University Heights Memorial Day Parade. Since then, he has promoted the city’s Summer Concert Series, Family Movie Nights, local businesses, the swimming pool, and local lemonade stands.
Cooper is on Instragram at cooperchicken.