The Got Milk Campaign
Sweet or Sour Milk?
Advertising Strategy and Copy Writing
Professor Jennifer Korte
Beef. Milk. Pork. These commodities are known as collective goods. Consumers can’t distinguish one producers’ milk or beef from another and branding is virtually impossible. Most consumers purchase these commodities at some level. The challenge for a farmer or producer is, “How do I get people to buy more of what they already buy?” The solution is for producers to work collectively to promote the commodity (Ward 55).
In 1990 the dairy lobby persuaded Congress to pass the Fluid Milk Promotion Act to combat steadily declining per capita milk consumption in the U.S. This legislation established funding from assessments charged to large volume milk processors to promote milk consumption. Responsibility for the campaign was handed down from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the National Fluid Milk Processors Promotion Board and the California Milk Processor Board. Boswell Worldwide was ultimately selected as the advertising agency to develop the campaign. (Butler 309-14). The assessments from the legislation created an initial ad budget between $23-37 million (Butler 309-14; Manning and Keller, 16-20).
The Got Milk? campaign has become one of the most popular and recognized campaigns of the 1990’s and is still going strong. The tag line, Got Milk? has become part of the American lexicon. In fact, the Got Milk? campaign has been so successful that it seems to have eclipsed the product it is selling. But, has Got Milk? Got Results?
The first instinct of a marketer when sales begin to slide is to find new users to turn things around. The California Milk Processors Board wisely focused first on regular milk users who used the product at least several times per week. They went beyond qualitative and quantitative research and traditional...