Elemental Thinking: #4 "Got Milk?"
In the mid-1990s, with the emergence of new juices, fruit drinks, iced teas, coffee drinks, bottled waters and soft drinks, Californians were drinking less milk every year. The dairy industry was in dire straits, and they needed help. San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners delivered.
Jeff Goodby offered a compelling explanation for most consumers' need for milk. He and the agency's creatives built a campaign around the theory that the only time consumers really wanted milk was when they had run out of it. The results of this brilliant integrated campaign were phenomenal. The commercials developed a cult following. The first spot, "Aaron Burr," aired in October 1993. The "Got Milk" tagline became ubiquitous, even though it was grammatically off. Pretty soon, everyone was saying "Got" before any number of random things. By 1994, the milk sales decline in California had been halted, even increasing by 7%, while nationally milk consumption continued to tank. In 1995, the campaign went nationwide with an $80 million media spend.
"Got Milk" was truly an idea that combined all the right elements.