Healthy bones. Healthy smile. Healthy you. All the fantastic benefits of milk!
But if you're a woman, looks like milk can do a whole lot more.
Finding yourself down in the dumps on a monthly basis? Cramps, bloating and irritability affecting your life? Well, apparently milk can help with all that -- it's the new cure-all for PMS (premenstrual syndrome)!
And to help you out, The California Milk Processor Board has launched a 'Got Milk?' PMS campaign with agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners:
Honestly, if you're a man and you attempted this, I feel sorry for you! Not a smart move!
I hope you're thinking this campaign is fantastic: it's edgy, controversial, and modern. Well, if you are, looks like you're in the minority this time.
Got Milk?'s PMS campaign seems to have suffered from its own symptoms of crabbiness and irritability having been pulled early amid unfavourable reviews. According to Adweek, the campaign was set to run until the end of August, accompanied by a website originally titled EverythingIDoIsWrong.org.
The website has now been redirected to GotDiscussion.org with a slew of all the negative commentary about the campaign posted directly on the homepage -- a great PR choice for today's online landscape.
Creative is controversial
From a marketing viewpoint, I commend their tenacity to take such a risk. However, when Steve James of the Milk Board told The New York Times that "It certainly wasn't our intention to offend people. We regret that. No question, with some people we have stepped over the line. We certainly misjudged the heat generated by the people who thought we stepped over the line." I call a huge, massive, honking BLUFF!
There can be no way this Creative wasn't meant to incite controversy. At its very core is a highly sensitive, often negatively stereotyped topic that both men and women misinterpret and misaddress on a regular basis.
If you're going to take the risk, if you're going to be controversial, then at least have the cahones to stand by that choice. A bit of backlash and the campaign is pulled -- that shows weakness and it also colours the client as being misinformed and unaware.
(But I guarantee that they knew!)
What about the women?
On the other side, it's about the audience (not the marketing or the client). I'm a woman. I understand the intricacies of PMS. I also understand how it is manipulated, humiliated and given an ugly face by the media, by both genders, and even by medical professionals. Just watch a tampon ad with uber-happy, twirling women in white skirts -- it's a joke! Menstruation has become a joke.
But are you really offended?
So would I call myself offended -- perhaps slightly. Mainly because I've seen this happen so many times before: take aim at the easiest target (however benign or malicious your intent) and something will stick. The campaign has created buzz, hasn't it? But I certainly don't think any Milk board wants women second-guessing their purchase decision in the supermarket based on some miscalculated flub.
After all, we know that women hold the decision-making power for the majority of household purchases, and that definitely includes groceries. It's important to keep those with power happy. (Even more important to not be sexist.)
Perhaps more so, though, I am offended by the California Milk Board. Were they coerced to run this campaign? Coerced into handing over thousands of dollars? Coerced into offending more than half of North America? If so, my condolences. If not (which is where my money would lie), then please make good and own up, don't pull the campaign and cite innocence and ignorance. If you're going to anger now and apologize later, then you've already lost.