Got Milk?

Product. Place. Price. Promotion. Often once companies have generated their product, chosen the place, and picked its price, they look outwardly for help with promotion. With thousands upon thousands of advertising agencies striving to provide clients with successful promotion, it can be difficult to stand out. However, when agencies do, people notice and people talk.

One agency that has emerged as one of the best is Goodby Silverstein & Partners, who created the famous tagline, “Got milk?” Goodby Silverstein & Partners was created in 1953 under the goal of producing the world’s best advertising, both in terms of distinctiveness and effectiveness. By 1989, they were named Agency of the Year by Ad Age. Four years later, they were approached by the California Milk Processors Board. The board had a unique proposition: sell more milk.

Faced with the task of marketing milk, the staff at Goodby Silverstein & Partners was initially wary. Milk was not new. Milk was not exciting. Everyone already had milk in their fridge. What was milk’s angle? Its call to action?
Goodby Silverstein & Partners facilitated a focus group and in the flow of conversation, one participant shared that she really only thought of milk when her family ran out of it. This sparked something in partner Jeff Goodby and he wrote “Got milk?” down on a napkin.

The brilliance of “Got milk?” lies in its simplicity. Goodby Silverstein & Partners did not try to make milk more exciting than it was. Rather, they played on the idea that while people might not notice milk when it was there, they sure would notice when it was not there. It speaks to the creative genius of the minds at Goodby Silverstein & Partners that they were able to turn the blandness of milk into an asset.

The video below marks the first in a long series of advertisements in the “Got Milk” campaign. It uses humor to effectively relay the necessity of milk and is one of my favorite ads.


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