‘Got Milk?’ Takes a Serious Look Inside the Body

A real-life X-ray was the spark that led to a “disturbing,” health-focused new spot in the California Milk Processor Board’s long-running, usu ally humorous “Got Milk?” campaign.

The effort, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, kicks off Feb. 5 with a 30-second spot that features a montage of X-rays set to haunting music from the film The English Patient. The commercial, which seeks to convey that drinking milk promotes healthy bones, introduces the theme, “Strength comes from within.” At the end, a voiceover says, “Got Milk?”

The concept arose after co-creative director Jeff Goodby had an X-ray taken and realized “it’s kind of a haunting perspective of the inside of your body.” He described the launch spot, which targets adults, as “dark, a little disturbing.”

It has not been determined how many spots will be included in the campaign, said Goodby, though forthcoming ads “will be thought-provoking, but probably not as disturbing.”

Roughly half of the Berkeley, Calif., client’s $15 million annual ad budget is earmarked for this effort, said CMPB executive director Jeff Manning. “In 1993, when we created the Board, we were able to move on to a milk-deprivation strategy, because people’s perception of milk was so high as a nutritional, good-for-you beverage,” he said. “But there are more beverages than in 1993 … that have calcium added to them. Milk has been marginalized.”

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, based on per capita consumption of milk in California, 23 gallons were consumed per person in 1993; in 1994, per person milk consumption was relatively flat and has remained so. Milk sales in 2002 were up about 2 percent in California from 2001, but flat in the rest of the U.S.

The work will run alongside the familiar, funny milk-deprivation ads, said Manning. “X-ray” will run on spot TV in California; it is also available to dairy groups nationwide.