New 'Got Milk' Spots Spoof Baseball's Steroid Scandal | Adweek New 'Got Milk' Spots Spoof Baseball's Steroid Scandal | Adweek
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New 'Got Milk' Spots Spoof Baseball's Steroid Scandal

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A series of new "Got milk?" spots from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners steers away from the milk-deprivation approach of past ads and instead ridicules the recent baseball steroids scandal.

Breaking today, five new 30-second spots for the California Milk Processor Board take a mock serious tone, as sports-news television shows report on a serious "substance" being abused by athletes. The baseball players are shown caught on surveillance tape, crying during sit-down interviews and denying usage to throngs of reporters. The performance-enhancing, muscle-building substance turns out to be milk.

Timed to coincide with the Major League Baseball playoffs, many of the spots open as faux sports-news programs, with a somber anchorman reading copy next to a TV screen containing a single word: "Controversy." In one, player "Rob Riccardi" (the name of a partner at the Omnicom shop) is shown batting in the cage as a voiceover expresses his denial: "I never knowingly poured," Riccardi says. The next shot is a locker-room interview with another player ridiculing Riccardi's statements. "Come on!" he says. "How could you not know what's going on in your body? You poured it, it disappeared. It's not rocket science."

All the spots end with the campaign's tagline, "Got milk?"

Other spots poke fun at serious 60 Minutes-type interviews and show players admitting their usage on "Sports Chat." One features a scrawny "Dan Rollman" (named after a Goodby copywriter), who has a batting average of .163. A clueless Rollman says he is proud he never "poured."

"I never touched it," a Rollman statement reads on screen, as he is shown swinging wildly and missing pitch after pitch. He goes on to defiantly add that his seven-year slump has nothing to do with his lack of milk consumption.

Agency principal Jeff Goodby said the steriods controversy "was just throbbing out there, waiting to be appropriated."

An MLB spokesman said the organization was not familiar with the ads, and declined comment.

These spots are not the first departure from the milk-deprivation theme; Goodby, of San Francisco, has taken other approaches, including ads showing how milk builds strong bones.

Goodby's Feh Tarty and Pat McKay were art director and copywriter, respectively, on the campaign. Tarty said the spots were done to mock the level of coverage some events receive. "It taps into what American culture is, and how we blow things out of proportion," he said.

Steve James, chairman of the processor board, said Goodby creatives presented three ideas, and "performance enhancement" won them over. "The board reacted unanimously and favorably," he said. "We saw the humor, satire and timeliness of it. Milk is nature's performance-enhancement drug."

The $2 million campaign includes TV and online and runs through mid-December, the client said. Though spots will break during the playoffs, they will also run during regular programming. The California Milk Processor Board spent $3 million on advertising from January to June 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Another significant shift from the past is that the campaign let consumers see the new spots Friday, the week before they broke on air. Consumers can view all five new spots online at www.gotmilk.com.