Welcome to Will It Stick? podcast, where hosts Melissa and Alexis cover creative advertising campaigns, PR stunts, and marketing activations that brands of all shapes and sizes pull, and dive into the research and data to understand if it worked.
If you were a kid or teen in the 90s, you know all about Got Milk? and the iconic Milk Mustache ads. I will never forget flipping through the pages of my Seventeen or YM Magazine and seeing one celebrity or another smiling at me with a perfectly placed milk mustache on above their lip and the iconic words GOT MILK? on the page. Everyone who was anyone was featured in the campaign – Britney Spears, Kate Moss, Tyra Banks, Dennis Rodman, and SO MANY OTHERS. They also played off pop culture in a big way – when Austin Powers was all the rage – Austin Powers (aka Mike Meyers playing Austin Powers) starred in a campaign, same with The Simpsons.
in 1993, the California Milk Processor Board was looking for new, creative strategies to boost milk sales. In the mid-’90s, there was a rush of new juices, fruit drinks, iced teams, coffee drinks, soft drinks to the market and because of that, Californians were drinking less milk every year. Actually, milk consumption per capita in California had dropped 6 percent between 1987 and 1992. Prior to 1993, the advertising for milk in California was paid for by the National Dairy Board and the California Milk Advisory Board – and together the two organizations were spending $13 million per year to promote statewide consumption of milk. Sounds like a lot for one drink in one state, but it’s not compared to the other big beverage titans like Pepsi Co and Coco-Cola who would spend $100 million in 1992 to advertise just ONE of its brands. Dairy farmers just couldn’t compete with those big dollars, so the California Department of Food and Agriculture decided to jump in to save the day. They formed a new group called the California Milk Processor Board and they were the ones who smartly realized they needed some outside help to make milk cool again.
With a new $23 million annual budget, the California Milk Processor Board called on the San Francisco-based agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
From here, Got Milk? started as a California campaign and within a few years, the entire U.S. was seeing the ads when the national group, the Milk Processor Education Program, licensed the campaign and took it national. For two decades, Got Milk? dominated — more than 70 commercials ran on TV in California alone and over 350 milk mustache ads ran nationally in print and on TV.
So, did it work? And, what does it look like NOW in 2021? Tune in for the details!
Check out some of the great articles we sourced to gather all the facts for this episode.
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Fast Company‘s 2018 article about the 25th anniversary of the Got Milk? campaign by Matthew Daddona
CNN‘s article by Alicia Wallace from August 2020 about the new Got Milk? campaigns.
AEF.com had a great and super detailed case study on Got Milk
Media Post’s article by Laurie Sullivan from August 2021 about the new 2021 California milk campaign
The Got Milk? entry on Wikipedia is a great resource