Ad of the Day: Got Milk?

Iconic campaign pokes fun at 'imitation milk' in Goodby's faux-game-show spots

Got real milk?

The California Milk Processor Board (CMBP) is picking on plant-based alternatives to milk in Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' latest work under its classic tagline for the dairy association.

The deliberately cheesy ads, an extension of the recent "Real milk comes from cows" campaign, are done in the style of a mock 1960s variety game show. The theme: funny-sounding ingredients found in what the campaign calls "imitation milk." In the case of the TV spots, that means soy-based. A microsite also knocks coconut- and almond-based alternatives. The contestants are a sharp teenage girl who can rattle off the drink's contents without really knowing what they are and a clueless teenage boy who is totally lost beyond water. The host, who sports an aesthetic reminiscent of Mad Men's Harry Crane, is a total ham. The additive carrageenan? "Used to date her in college," he grins. "I'm joking, I'm teasing." The campaign's headline: "Real. Simple."

The ads are fun. They're also kind of smug, with a knack of sophistry and fear mongering. The implication that having more ingredients is necessarily worse doesn't quite hold up on its face—riboflavin, zinc gluconate and calcium carbonate, for example, are popular dietary supplements. The aforementioned carrageenan, meanwhile, may be murkier. It's a common seaweed-based gelatin alternate that's raised various health concerns over the years, including that it's a possible carcinogen (what isn't?) but is generally considered safe. Overall, the campaign feels a bit like PETA-baiting. Vegan stuff is easy to ridicule, and, as the brand well knows, sowing controversy generally makes for more—if not necessarily better—exposure.

Does soy milk cause cancer? Does cow's milk? Who knows. At least fake milk's a better target for ridicule than the brand's last one.

Client: California Milk Processor Board (Got Milk?)
Executive Director: W. Stephen James
Co-Chairman, Partner: Jeff Goodby
Executive Creative Director, Associate Partner: Christian Haas
Copywriter: Carter Debski
Art Director: Maggie Bradshaw
Director of Broadcast Production, Associate Partner: Cindy Fluitt
Broadcast Producer: Leila Seghrouchni
Executive Interactive Producer: Alex Burke
Interactive Producer: Maribel Arellano
Creative Technologist: Mike Newell
Managing Partner: Robert Riccardi
Account Director: Kelly Johnson
Account Manager: Krista Kelly
Account Manager: Meredith Williams
Assistant Account Manager: Aimee O’Rourke
Operations Manager: Mallory Frye
Group Brand Strategy Director: Bonnie Wan
Senior Brand Strategist: Hennrietta Probert
Brand Strategist: Alina Schabashevich
Director of Communication Strategy: Christine Chen
Senior Communication Strategist: Nancy Jeng
Communication Strategist: Krista Miyashiro
Junior Communication Strategist: Fiona Su
Business Affairs Associate Manager: Heidi Killeen

Broadcast Production Credits:
Production Company: O-Positive
Director: David Shane
Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella

Editorial Company: Hutch Co.
Editors: James Hutchins (TV), Joaquin Machado (Web)
Executive Producer: Jane Hutchins
Producer: Jane Hutchins
VFX (TV spots): Jon Howard
Motion Graphics (end tag): HiFi 3D
From HiFi 3D: Szymon Weglarski, Jonathan Dorfman
Colorist, Finishing: Steffan Sonnenfeld

Music Company.: Beacon Street
Music: Original Music

Recording Studio: Lime Studios
Audio Engineer: Loren Silber

Interactive Production Credits:
Web Production Company: SilkTricky
Creative Director: Chris Lund
Creative Technology Director: Noah Costello
Producer: Lynn Lund
Flash, HTML Developers: Bart Millar, James Acres
Visual Effects: HiFi 3D
From HiFi 3D: Szymon Weglarski, Jonathan Dorfman