The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 22, 2011
"Got milk?" group's apology insincere

California Milk PMS Campaig.jpgThe California group behind the inimitable "got milk?" campaign may be running out of good ideas.

It might also just be especially adept at creating and exploiting controversy.

The California Milk Processor Board yesterday shut down a Web site purporting that drinking milk can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

The site featured men looking apologetic and frightened with subtitles such as "I'm sorry I listened to what you said and not what you meant" and "Let's agree to disagree with me." Critics called the campaign chauvinistic.

The site now redirects visitors and offers an apology that, like the original tag lines, drips with condescending humor.

"It has opened up a topic that affects women, of course, but also relationships," the site reads.

The tongue-in-cheek tone suggests that anyone who's still angry about the whole thing just needs to drink a tall glass of milk.

Somehow the extremely large amounts of calcium contained in the wonder-beverage work their way into the central nervous system, producing an immediate calming effect.

Or something like that.

Dubious scientific claims aren't new for the group, though. A recent campaign has touted low-fat chocolate milk as an ideal way to recover after exercising.

"Low-fat chocolate milk has been scientifically shown to refuel and rebuild muscles effectively to help athletes recover after exercise," stated a press release.

It's not clear, however, why other flavors of milk aren't equally beneficial.

And Sacramento-area residents are also familiar with marketing agencies capitalizing on public controversies, after a billboard advertising California Sun tanning salons in Auburn was removed and then replaced this summer.

I have nothing against milk. I drink it every day.

But I am opposed to offensive marketing campaigns that also make misleading scientific claims, especially when, like the California Milk Processor Board's most recent effort, they're not even all that funny.

This blog post has been updated to remove incorrect references to the "Happy Cows" advertising campaign, which is the work of the California Milk Advisory Board, not the California Milk Processor Board.

Max Ehrenfreund is an intern with The Bee's opinion pages.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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