Smash Mouth’s Harwell Lends Voice to ‘Got Milk?’ Spot

NEW YORK “Mother knows best” is a saying that rings true with many, and a reminder can be found in a new “Got Milk?” radio spot featuring pop star Steve Harwell, lead singer of Smash Mouth.

In the ad, Harwell croons a rap-style ballad that features the lines, “Three glasses a day/keep my teeth n’ bones strong/Surfing mosh pits singin’/Smash Mouth songs.” The spot ends with the singer saying, “Moms, give your kids milk, and one day they’ll thank you in their own special way,” as well as with the “Got milk?” tagline.

The Harwell spot broke June 9 and will run throughout the year in 100 radio markets across the U.S.

Sal Taibi, account director at Lowe in New York, which works on the “Got Milk?”/Milk Mustache campaign, an effort that is jointly funded by the nation’s fluid milk processors and U.S. dairy farmers, said the radio spots target mothers between the ages of 25 and 49. “The idea was to do a radio campaign that talked to moms about why it’s important to give milk to kids,” Taibi said. “Moms know milk is good for kids, and rather than do a campaign that listed nutritional facts, we wanted to tap into that emotional aspect, so we have famous people thanking their moms for giving them milk.”

Taibi said the singers who have appeared in the campaign cover a range of personalities—past ads have featured Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and LeAnn Rimes—and Harwell was chosen not only for his band’s distinct sound, but also for its remake of the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” featured in the Disney movie Shrek. Harwell’s voice would be familiar to mothers who either heard his cover of “I’m a Believer” on the radio or took their young children to see the movie, Taibi said.

Dave Holloway and Jeff Southworth of Crushing Music collaborated to write the lyrics to the Harwell spot and set it to music, while Harwell offered input as well, changing some lyrics and offering his own suggestions for additions.

Spending on radio ads for the “Got Milk?” effort was about $4 million in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.