March 3, 2014

‘Got Milk?’ slogan to carry on in California

The famous “Got Milk?” campaign will continue in California, even though a national dairy industry group is retiring its use of the slogan.

The state’s still got a “Got Milk?” campaign, even though a national dairy group has moved on from the slogan.

The California Milk Processor Board, which launched the memorable campaign in 1993, said Monday that media reports might have led people to believe that the slogan was entirely gone.

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the end of ‘Got Milk?’ are greatly exaggerated,” said Steve James, the board’s executive director, in a news release.

The group, based in San Clemente, promotes fluid milk produced in California, much of it from the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The Milk Processor Education Program, based in Washington, D.C., was using the slogan in its “milk mustache” ads under a license granted by the state group in 1995. The ads have featured numerous celebrities who dabbed the white stuff onto their upper lips, including Turlock-raised quarterback Colin Kaepernick just before last year’s Super Bowl.

The national group has adopted Milk Life as the slogan for a new campaign that stresses the drink’s protein content. The change could help reverse a decline in U.S. consumption of fluid milk, according to Advertising Age, an industry publication.

“ ‘Got Milk?’ has very high awareness,” Sal Taibi, president at Lowe Campbell Ewald, the New York City firm that created the new campaign, said on the Advertising Age website. “But we have a new strategy. We have a new message and we just felt we needed a new approach.”

The state board’s campaign has featured TV commercials showing people desperate for a gulp of milk. First and most famous was a radio quiz contestant who could not answer “Aaron Burr” because his mouth was full of peanut butter and his milk carton was empty.

That spot ranked No. 1 in a 2002 USA Today poll on the best ads of all time. “Got Milk?” also topped a 2005 survey on the best advertising taglines. The campaign was conceived by the San Francisco agency of Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

“The national milk trade group has decided to move away from its milk mustache campaign and develop a new tagline, but ‘Got Milk?’ and its consumer equity continue to be very much alive in California,” James said. “We wish them luck, but the fact remains that the California board anticipates using our beloved slogan for many years to come.”

His group is separate from the California Milk Advisory Board, which has a Modesto branch office and promotes cheese and other dairy products with the “Happy Cows” and “Real California” slogans.

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