Got Milk’s White Gold Goes Back to School

Got Milk’s spandex-clad wanna-be rock god White Gold makes a teary-eyed plea to help raise funds for California high school arts programs in a commercial that began running on American Idol last night. It features the winners of the California Milk Processor Board’s “Milkdonkulous Giveaway” contest.

“This battle isn’t over,” says the flamboyant pitchman as a single tear rolls down his cheek. The commercial, which opens with each student declaring he or she is White Gold in costumes mimicking the fictional musician’s attire, sums up the results of the contest with clips from a few of the 100 entries received. Viewers are directed to to donate funds to various school programs.

The contest challenged state high school students to re-create scenes of the eccentric milk spokesperson’s 20-minute rock opera the “Battle for Milkquarius” for a chance to win $20,000 in support of their arts programs. It ended last month with students from Santa Susana High School in Simi Valley, Calif., receiving nearly 11,000 votes to win the top prize.

Paul Charney, associate creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, said the finalists showed an impressive range of creativity, including versions created with Legos, a marching band interpretation of the song and another featuring a boat made entirely of human beings. “They are really fun,” he said. “Even [agency co-founder] Jeff Goodby said to me, ‘I think some of these are better than ours.'”

The Santa Susana school’s winning video recreated seven scenes from the online rock opera with students recreating White Gold’s quest to save his hometown of Milkquarious from the threat of deadly milk shortage. “The work of the students from Santa Susana showed a lot of ingenuity and thousands of people rallied around their work to vote them in as the grand prize winner,” said Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. “It is an amazing feat, and the CMPB is proud to award the school with $20,000 that will further encourage more students to participate in the arts.”

Pioneer Technical Center in Madera, Calif., received the second most votes and won $10,000. Its entry acted out the second scene of the musical that tells the story of White Gold’s first meeting with his partner in crime, Jug Life. Eight runner-ups each received $2,500.

White Gold and guest judges Owl City, Ozomatli, Electric 6 and Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes (from Eagles of Death Metal) selected nine finalists. The tenth finalist was determined by an online vote, which also determined the grand-prize winner.