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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

Is Got Milk? the greatest ad campaign ever?

Everyone remembers the very first commercial. A dorky librarian is listening to a radio call-in show and hears the following $10,000 trivia question: “Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?” His eyes light up as the camera pans to a painting on the wall of Hamilton being shot by Aaron Burr. The man gets a call from the radio show but, his mouth stuffed with peanut butter, is unable to clearly state the answer. Out of milk, he looks at his empty glass on the table and, most likely, ponders his inability to use his semi-arcane knowledge of history for his own personal gain.

The screen goes black as two now-familiar words appear before viewers’ eyes: Got Milk?



Since the launch of this commercial in 1993 (holy crap, I was a senior in high school), the Got Milk? ad campaign has been parodied, mimicked, stolen, and become part of this country’s pop culture. You’ve see it on T-shirts, billboards, and magazines, transcending age, race, and social background. Every American not hiding out in a cabin the past 13 years understands the reference when you say those two words. According to the Got Milk? Web site, their tag line has 90 percent awareness in the U.S. Which makes me wonder: is it the greatest advertising campaign ever?

Most advertising is short-lived. But often, some ad campaign will come along that will stick. VW’s recent slew of commercials featuring people in accidents being shot from an in-car camera and those crazy Eastern Motors commercials come to mind. But there are few that not only last as long as Got Milk?, but have actually changed American vernacular and been ripped off by anyone trying to sell a product.

I pride myself on not being swayed by the power of advertising. My friend Sean despises TV commercials and will make fun of anyone who is amused by them (he is especially virulent during the Super Bowl). But frankly, usually without even noticing, I know I’m affected.

Several years ago, I noticed that I bought a six-pack of Michelob beer because a TV commercial had made it look good. Hell, I even convinced myself that it tasted good until I realized I was drinking FUCKING MICHELOB! A radio spot for In-N-Out Burger, voiced by John Goodman, made their Double-Doubles sound like the greatest burgers in the world. Which, by the way, they are.

And I’m pretty sure I started to enjoy the taste of milk more after the 1993 commercial, even though I only ever drank it with cereal.

So what about you? Can you remember any TV commercials or advertising campaigns that had a conscious effect on you?
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