“Got Milk?”: A Brief Case Study

“Milk does a body good”, “milk is good for you”: these were phrases used in early milk campaigns. But where was being “good for you” getting milk? To the bottom of the sales chart. Why? Because these campaigns specifically targeted people who don’t drink milk. To combat decreasing milk sales, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) hired Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners (GS&P), an advertising agency, to develop a new milk campaign.

In late 1993, milk launched what has now become one of the most successful marketing campaigns: “Got Milk?” This campaign achieved 90% awareness by 1995 and had 9/10 Americans knowing the slogan by 2003. The “Got Milk?” campaign centers on the “desperation for milk”, appealing to the audience that was neglected in previous campaigns: the milk drinkers. Utilizing posters, TV commercials, print, and billboards, “Got Milk?” became a multimedia campaign.

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“Got Milk?” possessed three marketing objectives for their campaign: (1) change attitudes toward milk, (2) create idea of “milk occasions”, (3) and convince audience to buy more milk. These objectives were based into the humor, action, and integration of the campaign. One great example to showcase the “Got Milk?” objectives, would be their original ad: “Who Shot Alexander Hamilton?”

In this commercial, we find a History buff obsessed with the battle between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. As he makes himself a peanut butter sandwich, the radio chimes in to alert listeners of their $10,000 question: who shot Alexander Hamilton? The history buff receives the call from the station, but cannot answer due to his mouth being full of peanut butter sandwich. To wash down the thick peanut butter, he attempts to pour himself a glass, but is out of milk. The message behind this commercial: always have milk. Or else you might miss out on $10,000.

Just recently, CMPB announced their new campaign “Milk Life”. While we can never erase the phrase “Got Milk?” from our brains, we can look forward to what “Milk Life” has to offer.

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“Got Milk?” There’s nothing more refreshing after a stagecoach raid than a warm glass of milk.
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