'Got Milk?' Uses FCB Oreo Spot

The link between milk and cookies apparently extends to advertising.

The California Milk Processor Board has borrowed an Oreo commercial created by Foote, Cone & Belding in 1997 and will air it unchanged—except for the addition of the “Got milk?” tagline.

The 30-second spot breaks this week in California and will run through the end of 2002 and likely be in the rotation for 2003. Jeff Manning, the milk board’s executive director, said it is likely that he will ask Nabisco for permission to offer the spot to other milk boards across the country.

The commercial opens with two boys at a table. The older one dunks an Oreo in his milk. The younger kid tries to fit his cookie into his spill-proof cup. Then, when he attempts to dunk it in his sibling’s cup, the big brother moves the cup out of reach. The little brother finally turns his cup over, sprinkles milk on his Oreo, and says, “Ha, ha.”

An Oreo cookie package is seen in front of them, but the brand is not otherwise mentioned in the spot.

Manning saw the spot, which continues to air occasionally, and brought it to the attention of his agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Part ners in San Francisco. Both the advertiser and the shop liked the concept so much that they asked for permission to use it for “Got milk?”

“Oreos and milk are codependent,” said Manning. “Milk has been a huge part of the Oreo franchise from the beginning. There’s almost always milk in their ads.”

The reverse is also sometimes true: Oreos appeared in a milk board billboard, and a 1996 Goodby spot played off the notion that no one knows the origin of the name “Oreo.”

“It sounds crazy, but it serves both advertisers. It’s an after-the-fact co-op,” said agency co-founder and creative director Jeff Goodby. Manning added that the spot ties in well with the milk-deprivation strategy of “Got milk?”

The milk board made the media buy and covered talent residuals and traffic production costs, but paid no fee. Rep re sentatives for Nabisco, which authorized the board’s use of the ad, did not return calls. But an FCB representative said the adoption of the spot is “very flattering.”

The milk board is currently negotiating to do cross-promotions with other, undisclosed brands, said Manning. ”We will be doing more of this,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”