Why I “Got Milk” more than I want to “Milk Life”

Written by Kimberly MacArthur Graham on February 26, 2014
Original Got Milk Ad

Original Got Milk Ad

In today’s uber-competitive world of advertising, even icons are forced into retirement. And for me, that paints a sad picture of an Old Icons Home, where shriveled up taglines and logos go to die. Do they garrulously relive their glory days, or sit in silence, perhaps not even remembering when they were the “In” brand? But I digress.

The Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPEP – and don’t even get me started on that name – has decided to jettison “Got Milk” and the accompanying celebrity ‘staches in favor of “Milk Life.”


Now, I understand the clever dual meaning of “Milk Life.” I think it’s super that they’re promoting the nutritional benefits of milk instead of trying to make it sexy. And I am relieved that the cow’s milk people finally noticed the horde of soy-, almond-, coconut-, hemp-etc. “milks” stampeding their way into the market.

But methinks they’re going a little far in answering their own, beloved (and oft-parodied) with a directive. When they asked me if I “Got Milk?”, I felt they were engaging me; we were having a conversation and they cared about my opinion. With “Milk Life,” they are telling me what to do, indicating that my opinion is not worthy of consideration. While this may well be true, it does not make me want to pour a glass of the foamy white stuff. And didn’t they get the memo that mustaches are the hottest thing since, well,

Created in 1993 by ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the “Got Milk” campaign spawned countless parodies and some of our favorite ads of all time. Who doesn’t remember the very first ad, featuring a guy who lost a $10,000 radio contest ‘cause he didn’t have the milk to wash down his PBJ and utter the winning answer?

“Got Milk?” was, like “Where’s the Beef?” a question that most of America “got.” And it made us smile. Perhaps soon we’ll all be “milking life,” but I think it tries a little too hard to be a little too smart. Personally, I’m gonna milk the heck out of the old tagline as long as any of us old timers are around to remember it.

Have any fond or funny memories of this campaign, or any others? I’d love to hear about them!

If you’re interested in iconic brands, maybe you’d like to read another recent blog post on the changes Cadillac made to their logo.

Posted Under: Branding, Marketing
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