Vote for the top of the tups

16 October 2001

Vote for the top of the tups

By Adrienne Francis

THE sex lives of three pedigree Texel rams are under scrutiny in an Internet game aimed at boosting sales of lamb from an Exmoor farm.

The Ram Page game asks users to predict which of three rampant rams – Fred, Max or Cyril – will mate with up to 120 ewes.

The site, conceived by David and Isobel Wood, is aimed at promoting the local co-operative Somerset Farm Direct.

Mr Wood he hoped the game would boost business at a time when many farmers were having to market lambs when prices had plummeted.

“Being a small family business we had to be innovative and get involved with marketing directly to the consumer, and cut out the middleman.”

Viewers will be able to examine each rams vital statistics. Fair play will be ensured by Martin Summersdale of the National Farmers Union.

Photographic evidence will be regularly posted on the website, and all the ewes will be ultra-scanned to determine their state of pregnancy.

The competition closes on 26 November. The overall winner will receive a free box of lamb. Other winners will receive money-off vouchers.

Mr Wood denied that his website was a copy of similar creative marketing effort – the Somerset Organics Internet game Pig Brother.

In that game, based on the hit TV show Big Brother, viewers voted their least favourite pig out of a sty which was monitored by a webcam.

Somerset Farm Direct was launched in 1999 and claims to have attracted 2700 regular customers from Edinburgh to St Austell.

More than one third its orders are taken over the Internet.

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