When I first heard of “Les Miserables,” I thought it was a report detailing the woes of fluid milk processors. Hollywood inspired me to mash up dairy foods and movies. So at my Oscar-watching party last month, refreshments included “Life of Pi à la mode” and “Zero Dark chocolate Thirty-calorie milk.”
There just are not many dairy-themed movies, unless you count “Bridget Jones’s Dairy,” which was a hit with dyslexics. So with no movies upon which to cast a critical eye, I turned to commercials about dairy foods. (Watch them at iSpot.tv.) This was fertile ground.
“Thelma and Louise” must have inspired Dannon’s commercial for its Light & Fit brand. Two women on a road trip pass up an ice cream cart, hamburger stand and cupcakes because they are fueled and sated by Greek yogurt. The car runs out of gas before the women run out of energy. The ad brings out the product’s high protein content (twice that of regular low-fat yogurt) and its modest 80 calories per serving.
As good as that one is, Dannon’s ad for Oikos is like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. A really bad skit. The premise is that as women eat Oikos, chunky men begin to look like hunky actor John Stamos. Yogurt as beer goggles? Really? To the tagline “Possibly the best yogurt in the world,” I say “Probably the worst yogurt commercial on TV.”
For best comedy, I like the “What’s Your I.D.” series for International Delight coffee creamers. A fan’s bottle of International Delight gets her past a nightclub bouncer and lets her off the hook for a speeding ticket. The commercials portray the affinity fans have for the product.
Also amusing are the ads for FrütUp and Corner yogurts that play off their European heritage. The manufacturer is a joint venture between Müller of Germany and U.S.-based Quaker (a division of Pepsi). The two dots over the u in Müller speak to each other as a consumer demonstrates the “corner” package, which has separate compartments for fruit puree and yogurt. The commercial is quick, colorful and humorous. One quibble: The “European for yummy” tagline is too similar to Emmi’s “Yummi” campaign for its Swiss-style yogurts.
In the “documentary” category, you really need to see the amazing Kraft Macaroni and Cheese “Dinner, not art” video in which artist Tom Deininger designs a mural of Ted Williams, the former homeless man who is now the “official voice” of the brand. Kraft tied the video into a fund-raising effort and an iPad app that allows users to make “macaroni” art without using noodles. See the video at www.dinnernotart.com/artwork.
That brings me to milk. I like the “devil” and “angel” milkmen perched on a mom’s shoulders as she ponders TruMoo chocolate milk from Dean Foods. The angel points out the positive attributes of the flavored milk. The devil can think of nothing bad to say, so mom is sold.
Less successful is MilkPep’s Super Bowl commercial that introduces the new tagline “protein to start your day” and stars action hero Dwayne Johnson. While chasing after a milk truck, he declines to help a girl rescue a cat and allows bank robbers to escape. (Some hero.) After he buys a gallon of milk, he drinks a glass and fights space aliens. But who are those three girls in his kitchen (and why no boys)? Is the protein message directed at children or adults? This spot is a hot mess. Maybe the sequel will be better.