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'Got Milk?' Gets Surreal Twist

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The "Got Milk?" campaign veers toward the surreal and away from the humor that made it famous with the latest "Strength Comes From Within" execution, set to break May 26.

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners broke the serious-minded "Strength Comes From Within" campaign in February with a spot that used an X-ray to demonstrate milk's contribution to healthy bones. In the new 30-second commercial, "Breakaway," the San Francisco shop links milk to emotional health as well.

A street scene shows pedestrians marching backward through a revolving door and newspaper bundles flying in reverse into a truck. A businesswoman stops walking backward, grips a tree planter, fights an invisible pressure and propels herself forward in what Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Milk Processors Board, termed a "symbolic" portrayal of "physical strength as well as inner strength."

"Strength comes from within" appears on the screen followed by the familiar, "Got milk?"

"This commercial ought to have a seriousness to it, because it is about one's health," said Jeff Goodby, agency co-founder and co-creative director. The spot evolved from "thinking about, What are other things that make people think of milk? It's a comfort food."

The 10-year-old campaign's shift in tone was motivated by research that shows milk consumption by adults continues to drop, Manning said, as well as by competition from "good for you" beverages such as vitamin-infused bottled water.