One of the most successful marketing campaigns ever is the American “Got Milk?” one.
Since the 1960s, the consumption of milk had dramatically dropped, having its impact on national health.
The number of osteoporosis cases, bone density loss, broken bones and hips were increasing.
In 1994, the nation's milk processors, Congress and the Secretary of Agriculture decided that it was time to educate the public about the importance of milk in their diets.
The goal was clear: the thirty-year milk consumption decline had to be reversed.
The mindset and attitude of consumers had to be changed – milk had to become “cool”.
Competition had to be overcome – soda manufacturers spend hundreds of millions a year to promote soft drinks.
The first step was to educate the public about facts.
Apart that milk is good for the body, the information campaign stressed to little known facts:
1) fat-free and low-fat milk have the same calcium, vitamins and minerals as whole milk;
2) women need the calcium in milk for constant bone mass replacement to prevent bone density loss, fractured bones, or osteoporosis later in life.
The “got milk?” campaign was first launched in October 1993 by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). The ad was developed by longtime CMPB advertising partner Goodby Silverstein & Partners and directed by Oscar-nominated Hollywood director, Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor and The Rock).
The spot opened on an American history buff stuffing a huge peanut butter sandwich into his mouth and listening to a classical music radio channel.
The DJ announces a $10,000 trivia question, “Who shot Alexander Hamilton?” The camera pans an apartment filled with memorabilia from the famous duel, including a portrait of Burr and the actual bullet preserved in a glass curio.
Mouth crammed and unable to respond, the pitiful history buff reaches for the milk only to find it empty. Desperate, he can only mutter “Aaaawon Buuuuhh.”
The spot ends with the now familiar “got milk?”
“Aaron Burr” was the first in a series of remarkable ads that introduced “got milk?” to audiences nationally and helped resuscitate milk sales.
“Aaron Burr” also turned the ad world upside down and earned the advertising industry’s most prestigious accolades, including three Gold CLIOs and a Gold EFFIE.
In 2002, “Aaron Burr” was named 1 of 10 best ads of all time by a USATODAY poll.
It has been featured in numerous books on advertising and is being used in case studies at top-flight MBA programs around the country.
The public also quickly took to the “Milk Mustache” – the printed ads that show celebrities sporting milk on their upper lip.
The impact of the campaign is a marketing and PR dream: over 90% awareness nationally.
The tagline has been licensed to dairy boards around the country as well as to wide range of consumer goods including Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels, baby and teen apparel and kitchenware.