The dairy industry has a problem: Many young people drink less milk as they move from childhood to their teen years.
How to solve it? Get ready to rock and roll!
The California Milk Processor Board has launched a new series of video ads under its "Got milk?" slogan. They feature a fictional rock band -- White Gold and the Calcium Twins -- that sings the praises of milk's health benefits.
The debut came on the Internet rather than television. The videos are making the rounds of MySpace and YouTube, two social networking sites popular with teens.
"We just felt that this was the right time for us to start to talk directly to that audience," said Steve James, executive director of the processor board, based in San Clemente.
In the month since the launch, dozens of comments have appeared on the sites, most of them praising the band and dairy products.
"White Gold -- you rock," wrote Lisa from Pennsylvania on MySpace. "You are my favorite dairy superstar and are the cheese to my cracker."
The ads also will run on TV shows watched by teens, including "American Idol" and some MTV shows, James said.
Milk is the No. 1 farm product in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, bringing an estimated $1.35 billion in gross income in 2006. Several thousand people in the region work at plants that make cheese, ice cream and other dairy products.
Milk demand overall is strong, but a typical teen consumes 8 percent to 10 percent less than he or she did during childhood, said Tatum Wan, a public relations consultant for the processor board.
James said many of these consumers have shifted to sodas and energy drinks, and White Gold and the Calcium Twins aim to get them back.
White Gold, a guitarist and singer, sports a silky mane that would do an '80s hair band proud -- something he claims he got from drinking milk. The Twins accompany him on bass and drums.
Memorable series of ads
It's yet another oddball twist for the "Got milk?" campaign, which had a memorable launch in 1993. In the first TV spot, a radio quiz participant has a mouthful of peanut butter and, lacking milk to wash it down, cannot answer "Aaron Burr" and win the prize.
In 2005, "Got milk?" was named the best slogan in TV history in a survey of marketing professionals across the country.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the San Francisco advertising agency that created the slogan, was involved in the latest batch of ads. The agency last year did a study that found that teens spend as many as five hours a day on social networking sites.
Another study, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that about 55 percent of U.S. teens visit these sites.
James said the campaign runs the risk of Internet viewers posting disparaging comments but that he has not seen any.
"It's a risk that we feel is worth taking for the benefit of reaching people in a really cost-effective way," he said.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2385.