Got Milk? Not Anymore

By Kimberly Gonzalez
SNPJ Associate Editor

The famous ad campaign that made the otherwise-gross “milk mustache” a cool fad called it quits on Monday. After 20 years, the “Got Milk?” slogan has been ditched by the Milk Processor Education Program in favor of a new marketing direction.

Amid declining dairy sales, the “Got Milk?” campaign was created in 1993 following the formation of the California Milk Processor Board. This nonprofit marketing organization was established to draw consumers away from the sugary sodas and healthy shakes that were dominating the market and reintroduce them to the refreshingly healthy benefits of dairy milk. One of the first “Got Milk?” ads was a television commercial, displayed below, which topped the advertising industry in 1994. The ad was recognized again 2002 as one of the top 10 best commercials of all time and has since been used in advertising studies.


In 1995, the National Milk Processor Education Program received licensing to use the “Got Milk?” campaign on a national level, launching print ads featuring the hottest celebs sporting milk moustaches. Everyone from Dennis Rodman to Martha Stewart shared the importance of including milk in their diet. This simple yet extremely successful campaign caught the attention of media outlets everywhere, and the news coverage helped push the campaign’s awareness level to an impressive 90 percent. Although “Got Milk?” has landed itself among the world’s most renowned marketing campaigns, it has been less successful in achieving the ultimate goal: getting people to drink more milk. 

So, after 20 years, the National Milk Processor Education Program decided it was time to try something new. Although the California Milk Processor Board will still utilize the “Got Milk?” slogan, it has been replaced on the national level. The new $50 million “Milk Life” campaign, which launched on Monday, is tackling television and print ads with a heavy presence in digital ads and social media. In contrast to the celebrity-driven “Got Milk?” campaign which focused on giving milk a cool and contemporary image, the “Milk Life” campaign features average people promoting the nutritious advantages of drinking milk (like the examples below). These ads, according to the Milk Processor Education Program board, should “reinforce how milk’s many nutritional benefits – including high-quality protein – can help power the potential of every day.”

The “Got Milk?” campaign achieved definitive success in the eyes of the advertising world by taking an everyday, run-of-the-mill product and giving it one of the most famous taglines in the history of the industry. And while a milk moustache is still sort of gross, it will forever be slightly more sophisticated thanks to 20 years of asking, “Got Milk?”


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