Features Policy Update

Holy Cow! Milk Gets A New Ad Campaign

by Mimi DelGizzi

superman milkDavid Bekham had one, as did Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Even Superman had one. The Olsen Twins sported two. Since 1994, celebrities have donned milk mustaches for the “Got Milk?” campaign, but after two decades, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) is retiring the slogan in favor of a new message. The new tagline for the calcium-rich drink is “Milk Life” and features everyday folks performing (almost) everyday tasks, but with more gusto.

Launched Feb 24th, the new campaign moves away from the celebrity-studded image “Got Milk?” had generated (over 300 different celebrity ads were created for the campaign). According to ad executives, the use of celebrities was meant to bring excitement to an otherwise “boring product.” In fact, according to a report put out by the USDA, Americans born in the 1990s are less likely to drink fluid milk with lunch or dinner compared to Americans born in decades prior. Unfortunately, oftentimes sodas and other sugar drinks take the place of milk on modern dinner tables.

courtesy of NPR.org
courtesy of NPR.org

Instead of trying to revitalize a low-interest item, then, the new “Milk Life”  campaign aims to slingshot milk into a spot it has not been since its “Does Your Body Good” days: touting milk’s nutritional benefits, particularly the protein content in one glass of the stuff—about 8 grams. The new ads depict liquid milk powering consumers through a myriad of physical activities. One ad shows a child jumping off a diving board, wings of milk giving her the chutzpah to do so. Another ad depicts a young man breakdancing and swirling liquid milk in circles around his body. The ad reads, “What 8 grams of protein looks like when you’re breaking the laws of physics.”

In an article on NPR’s food blog, The Salt, the marketing director of MilkPEP, Victor Saborsy, explains that “you can read ‘Milk Life’ two ways”: urging consumers to milk life, enjoying it to the fullest, or encouraging them towards “living a milk life” by making milk a central part of a healthy diet.

At a time when dairy milk sales are contending with increasingly popular non-dairy alternatives like soy and almond milk, the new “Milk Life” campaign wants to make sure consumers still know that yes, milk (still) does the body good.

Drink on.

Michelina (Mimi) DelGizzi is a 2nd-year dual degree MS/MPH student and the current Co-Editor of The Friedman Sprout. To learn more about her, visit our Meet Our Writers page.

The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

1 comment on “Holy Cow! Milk Gets A New Ad Campaign

  1. Actually, full fat dairy may make a comeback on the basis of the scientific evidence that is beginning to disassociate dairy fat from heart disease. Excerpt:

    Opening the debate, Prof. German asserted that saturated fat is a ‘highly functional fat’, meaning that it is the most delicious, luxurious and pleasant sensation in one’s mouth. As a result, saturated fats migrated into the food supply and changed the food supply itself. Saturated fat comes in different places, Prof. German said, the most obvious being lactation. For over 100 million years, mammalian mothers have produced milk with approximately 30% of total fatty acids as saturated fat, for the presumed benefit of their young. This long-term conservation of saturated fatty acids in milk demonstrates the importance of saturated fats to the evolution of mammals, including humans. What saturated fat is combined with today has much more influence on human health than saturated fat itself. Nonetheless, the question is: does consumption of bovine milk and dairy products result in increased levels of heart disease in the population? Prof. German then mentioned the work of Peter Elwood, who reported that saturated fats consumed as dairy are associated with a reduction in risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, all-cause mortality and incident diabetes. Saturated fat is not a toxin, Prof. German said. It functions as a signalling molecule that, unlike PUFAs, activates the synthesis of cholesterol and other lipids for the production of very-low-density lipoprotein particles, thereby providing fuel for physiological processes like exercise, lactation, infant growth and fighting infections. This implies that saturated fat has a metabolic value. However, 50-year-old men who are sedentary, overweight, cannot lactate, do not exercise and have no infectious disease do not benefit from greater cholesterol synthesis and, therefore, may not be the appropriate reference point for dietary recommendations. Data show that saturated fat in a subset of the population can even be protective of heart disease.

    This paper is also of interest: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11745-010-3445-9

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