Manning Leaves Calif. Milk Board

SAN FRANCISCO Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board and the client behind the “Got milk?” campaign from Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners here, has quit the board, he said today.

After 12 years with the board, he is launching “Got Manning?” his own brand and category development firm in Orinda, a suburb of San Francisco.

“I am very excited,” Manning said. “I will miss ‘Got milk?,’ the board and Goodby, but it is time for me to get back to branding and helping build brands,” he said. “There wasn’t enough content for me anymore . . . Imagine working on the same brand for 13 years. I need to wrap my mind around something that isn’t white and comes in gallons.”

A replacement has not been named yet, Manning said. Steve James, the board’s chairman, will make that decision.

The move is not expected to affect the relationship between the client and Goodby. The most recent “Got milk?” campaign Goodby released was a series of television spots mocking the Major League Baseball steroids scandal, replacing the “performance-enhancing substance” with milk rather than drugs. Actors portraying baseball players were shown in interviews denying they ever “poured.”

Manning has more than 30 years of agency and client experience with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Clorox and Safeway, as well as generic programs promoting beef, eggs and potatoes.

“Innovation, collaboration and the strategic use of public relations are the keys to revitalizing older, often stagnating brands and categories,” Manning said in a statement. “If a brand or category isn’t growing, it’s dying.”

“Got milk?” has been running since 1993 to much acclaim. In 1999, Manning wrote Got Milk? The Book and has written several articles on branding.

He has designed a three-day work session, “Building Brand Potency,” that uses the “Got milk?” model to expose and explore pivotal issues for mature brands and categories.

The California Milk Processor Board spent $3 million on advertising from January to June 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence.