40 spots later, Goodby asks, ‘Got chocolate milk?’
It’s not an easy decision to try a new approach, even briefly, when you have an ad campaign as successful as “Got milk?” But after a year of debating the pros and cons, Jeff Manning and Jeff Goodby agreed on a new TV spot that keeps the effort in familiar, if somewhat darker territory.
Seven years and some 40 TV spots into the campaign, Goodby and Manning are asking, for the first time, “Got chocolate milk?”
“It’s fun to see other people do variations on the campaign. I think that’s an indication of [its] acceptance,” says Goodby, co-chairman and creative director at “Got milk?” agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. “The very thing that makes this spot funny is it’s a variation.”
The humorous commercial, created for Manning’s California Milk Processor Board, breaks March 9 in the Golden State under an estimated $4 million budget.
It features a teenage boy who craves a glass of chocolate milk but doesn’t have the traditional syrup with which to make it. In typically industrious “Got milk?” fashion, he resorts to pouring regular milk into a box of chocolate cereal, straining the concoction into a glass and then placing the soon-to-be-soggy box back in the cupboard. The words “Got chocolate milk?” appear at the end.
“It’s a fun and kind of childish component [of the campaign],” Goodby says. “It kind of reminds adults of when they were kids.”
The move into chocolate milk isn’t by chance: Consumption of the product shot up 23 percent among teens last year, according to the client. The resulting strategy for the ad suggested a “cool” teen character would resonate best with younger audiences. The young man in the 30-second spot, therefore, is portrayed as the quintessential suburban teen, with the requisite headphones and attitude in tow.
It’s a recognizable type for the older generation, too, says Manning, the board’s longtime executive director. “We wanted a spot that parents would look at and say, ‘Yeah, my kid would do that,’ ” he explains.
The spot was developed specifically for the California milk board, based in Berkeley, but will be made available nationally to other milk boards. A national in-store promotion for chocolate milk is also due.
A favorable reaction to the ad could prompt a print, radio and outdoor commitment, Goodby adds.
The process of crafting the spot wasn’t without its hitches, though. The client, no stranger to cross-marketing deals, saw in the ad’s plot a chance to partner with a chocolate cereal maker. (General Mills’ Trix cereal and Nabisco’s Oreo cookies are among the brands that have shown up in past spots.) But negotiations fell through with General Mills (Cocoa Puffs) and Post (Cocoa Pebbles), leading the San Francisco agency to create a fictitious stand-in, “Cocoa Nuts.”
By only tweaking the core strategy here, the client is clearly signaling it’s far from finished with the “Got milk?” concept, which has earned tremendous pop culture equity since its 1993 introduction. That desire on the part of the client to stick with what’s working has been something of a test for creatives, whose job it is to recognize when ideas might be getting stale, says Goodby account director Rene Cournoyer.
“It’s kind of unprecedented to stay the course,” Cournoyer says. K
California Milk Processor Board
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Creative Director: Jeff Goodby
Copywriter: Al Kelly
Art Director: Amy Nicholson
Producer: Jan O’Malley
Production Co.: Ritts/Hayden, Inc.
Director: Daniel Kleinma
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