Pamela Accetta Smith
One of the most successful
advertising campaigns gets controversial? What? The latest “got
milk?” advertisements spoof Major League Baseball’s steroid
abuse scandal. Funny? Well, not everyone thinks so.
The new ad campaign, as described by the California
Milk Processor Board (CMAB), focuses on how the use of an often-ignored but
powerful substance to boost athletic performance is reaching beyond
professional locker rooms and into the sports bags of even our
nation’s youngest little leaguers. The substance — a
refrigerated white liquid that enhances bone strength and promotes muscle
recovery — is literally everywhere. So rampant in use, it has now
become the focus of a brand new series of hard hitting reality-based TV
commercials produced by the creators of the famous “got milk?”
The five 30-second spots are spoofs of a
“powerful substance with extensive performance-enhancing
properties,” which in this case are things like calcium, protein and
Taking a humorous approach to an issue that has
plagued professional sports for years, the new commercials — titled
“Caught,” “Batting Practice,”
“Tabloid,” “Never Poured” and “Manager”
— broke on television airwaves October 11 during the opening of the
2005 post-season playoffs. “Caught” opens with a sports anchor
delivering the news of a slugger being pulled from the game after testing
positive for a new performance enhancing substance. Cut to locker room
frenzy: coaches and managers rummaging through a player’s locker to
find the performance enhancement culprit — a half-gallon of milk.
“Everyone knew he was pouring,” says a teammate. The accused
youngster tries to defend his actions, citing the broad availability and
usage of the substance, but to no avail. The spot closes with the
ubiquitous “got milk?” tagline.
Officials with Major League Baseball, however, say
there’s nothing funny about steroid abuse, and criticized the
spots’ making light of something that’s harmful to children as
well as adults.
Developed by CMPB’s longtime advertising agency,
San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the commercials
— the first to tout milk as a “super food” with all of
its health-promoting benefits — rely on the backhanded humor of major
league athletes taking substances to improve their performance. All five of
the new spots can be viewed online at www.gotmilk.com.
On the “got milk?” Web site, milk is hyped
as not only a calcium source, but a nutritional powerhouse with additional
performance enhancing properties like protein and vitamin D. The Web site
goes on to say that’s why top athletes drink four to five 8-ounce
glasses of milk daily. Research shows that milk supports muscle protein
accretion, as well as being an excellent choice for a long lasting
muscle-protecting protein. Plus, milk contains whey — the most common
form of protein found in bodybuilding supplements. Anyone who cares about
being active and keeping fit should drink milk, the site says.
Some may even find that controversial.
But now in its 12th year, “got milk?” has
helped sell millions of gallons of milk and has become an American icon.
The dairy industry spends $150 million annually to support the campaign,
including for use on Milk Mustache ads.
Offended or not, controversial or not, “got
milk?” is one hot commodity.