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Serious Milk Spots Should Go Down Well

May 06, 1999

Advertiser: California Milk Processors Board

Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

Challenge: Incorporate a serious health message into the humorous "Got Milk?" campaign.

The Ad: When a mother tells her son and daughter to drink their milk because it builds strong bones, they respond that milk is for babies. Looking through the dining room window, the boy notices a neighbor doing lawn work. "Mr. Miller says he never drinks milk," the boy says. "Look at him." The friendly neighbor waves to the children, then attempts to push a wheelbarrow filled with dirt, but his arms snap off at the shoulders. The scene pans back to the kids, who chug down their milk.

Comment: The long-running "Got Milk?" campaign is about milk deprivation. Many of the previous commercials showed people desperate for milk after downing quantities of cookies, cake or another dry food. In this ad, the consequences of milk deprivation are dire, but depicted in a cartoonish style unlikely to frighten kids or offend parents. The message is clear, but whether it boosts demand for milk is another question. Children often repeated a previous industry slogan--"milk does a body good"--but that campaign had little impact on sales. $$$+

Ads Are Missing a K-Sential Ingredient: Brands

Advertiser: Kellogg Co.

Agency: Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Challenge: Help boost sales by touting nutritional value of children's cereals.

The Ads: TV ads focus on the benefits of calcium, which has been added to Kellogg's line of children's cereals. One ad shows climbers trudging up Mt. Everest; carrying the largest pack is a little boy. A legend asks, "What does your cereal do for you?" while a voice-over notes that the K-sentials line is fortified with calcium for stronger bones. In another spot, the tooth fairy arrives on the appointed date, but finding no tooth under a sleeping girl's pillow, attempts to knock one out of the child's mouth. As the legend appears, a voice-over says the calcium-fortified cereals promote stronger teeth.

Comments: Cereal has been losing its share of the breakfast business to doughnuts, bagels and other foods considered more convenient to prepare. These ads highlight the benefits of Kellogg's kids' cereals, and seem aimed at grabbing sales from rival cereal manufacturers. But the spots don't tackle the loss of share to other convenience foods. And since the spots don't identify specific brands, consumers are left to figure out which cereals are part of the K-sentials line. $$+

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