The California Milk Board recently ran this campaign, complete with a website, to promote drinking milk. Print ads showed flustered men holding milk cartons. Text ran above with self-incriminating irony like, "I apologize for letting you misinterpret what I was saying." On the bottom, the hook: "Milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS." The subtext being: "If you drink milk, you won't be such a bitch because it's your time of the month. (and your poor boyfriend can breathe a sigh of relief)."
While it may seem offensive at first, the California Milk Board does have science on its side, the website: "everythingidoiswrong.org" presented scientific evidence that vitamins found in milk (along with all dairy) can reduce symptoms of pms.
But it goes one step further! After the outrage over the ad campaign, the California Milk Board changed their tune and called the campaign "Got Discussion" creating online forums for a conversation about the campaign and the stigmas associated with "PMS." As well as an aggregation of news articles that critique the advertisement.
Now to really "meta" this up. Check out the news coverage of the ad campaign found on the "Got Discussion" website. It's coverage from CNN with two smiling made up female news casters laughing about the campaign and sharing dairy products. One says, "So you're looking a little grumpy one for you (hands over some dairy) one for me!"
Personally, I think it's a fascinating case study. The real question is: where do we draw the line between fact and offensive? Aren't all stereotypes based in facts? Isn't this just a clever ad campaign based in facts (packaged a little offensively)? Isn't offensive good advertising?
New York Times