Got Milk? returns to advertising with spots by PR firm Weber Shandwick

National milk board uses found footage and influencers for spots that will air on broadcast and digital - including a TikTok challenge with Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky.

The iconic slogan “Got Milk?” is back on the airwaves, this time courtesy of an advertising campaign executed by the initiative’s longtime PR agency Weber Shandwick.

The new campaign for the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), a consortium of dairy brands, features found footage of people having fun with milk, such as a person jumping into a kiddie pool filled with milk and cereal.

It will break August 10 across 20 TV networks and digital and streaming services including Hulu and YouTube.

The tagline was made famous in the 1990s and kicked off a 25-year, award-winning campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P). Milk moved on, later landing at then Lowe Campbell Ewald and the “Milk Life” theme. Meanwhile the latter’s Interpublic Group sister agency, Weber Shandwick, had been handling PR for milk for decades.

Weber’s role in the new advertising evolved from that long-standing relationship. The ads feature 30- and 15-second executions and are packed with home-life footage of kids and adults lightheartedly enjoying milk in unusual ways.

In addition to the baby-pool dive, there’s the guy who demonstrates pouring a glass of milk using his stockinged feet and even a young woman with a milk mustache, a tip of the hat to the “Got Milk” milk-mustache print ads of yore, when everyone from Bill Clinton to Taylor Swift posed with the remnants on their upper lips.

Milk sales in the U.S. were up 4% in the first half of 2020 according to IRI data. Lori Fromm, EVP at Weber’s food and nutrition practice in Chicago leads the MilkPEP client partnership for the agency.

She told Campaign US via email: “People aren’t just buying more milk, they’re doing more with it – and sharing it all on social media. It was social media behavior that truly inspired the campaign.”

The activation includes an interactive component, too, as kids are asked to “show us what you got.” Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky kicks off the TikTok #GotMilkChallenge by swimming in an Olympic-sized pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head and challenging others to get on TikTok and give it a try.

Other scenarios assembled by Weber creatives include a split-screen of someone pouring a milk waterful from one screen into the other person’s glass, and someone eating a bowl of cereal while appearing to be upside down. These moments are all indicative of the at-home life and ensuing TikTok challenges that have arisen during the COVID-19 extended lockdown.

“If it was okay to use Got Porn? and Got Cheese? - those lines are out there, I have to be happy to see that Got Milk? came back,” said Jeff Goodby, co-founder and co-chair of GS&P and the original mind behind the Got Milk? tagline.

“Actually, it is smart of them, because this is a time when people want comfort food. Milk is one of the great comfort foods.”

The Got Milk? tagline’s origins are storied and part of advertising history. GS&P’s Got Milk? campaign began with spots for the California Milk Processor Board that depicted the quandary of a life filled with peanut butter sandwiches and dry cookies but no milk.

The California campaign was quickly picked up by milk processors nationally. 

Goodby and team have also been known to revive a memorable advertising slogan.

“We’ve brought back taglines before like, Porsche: There is No Substitute,” he said. “It wasn’t our tagline. We brought back Reach Out and Touch Someone (for AT&T) and changed it to Reach Out. We thought it was a good idea.

“If people know that line and associate it with your brand, it is a great idea (to revive it). I think it is smart.”

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