Goodby Changes Tack on ‘Got Milk?’: Acknowledging Predictability, Client Opts for New Sitcom Approach

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is evolving its award-winning “Got Milk?” campaign with four new TV spots that eschew the familiar scenes of characters with mouths full of cookies and peanut butter but no milk in the fridge.
Unlike earlier TV spots, which were all separate, self-contained stories, the new campaign for the California Milk Processors Board is more like a sitcom, with a series of related vignettes, said Jeff Manning, executive director of the milk board.
Each spot from the San Francisco agency is set in a fictional town called Drysville, where milk is outlawed. The spots are shot in black and white to create an arty mood and feature the same tagline and humor that has marked previous “Got Milk?” ads.
In one execution, a heartbroken woman finds that her son has left home because he has discovered the forbidden pleasure of drinking milk.
Another spot shows a car full of teenagers who go to a nearby town to party with milk and cookies. They get caught by Drysville police trying to sneak the contraband home. The ads also include background details such as posters for missing cats and bakeries with “out of business” signs.
“After more than three years, the ‘Got Milk?’ work was still clever and funny, but was getting predictable,” said Manning. “We felt it was time to up the ante, to keep the element of surprise.”
The concept of a town where milk is illegal evolved from a short-lived radio campaign that ran about a year ago, Manning said. Agency principal Jeff Goodby directed the ads.
The TV work will be backed with print and outdoor ads, said agency officials. The ads break in California in early October and are expected to roll out nationally by January 1998. Dairy Management Inc., a marketing board that licenses the ads, could back it with a $60-70 million national budget.