Thursday, September 15, 2011

Got Milk? (thank you won't be a bitch!)

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: "" 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!"

CNN Coverage

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?

More Newsbits:

New York Times

Media Post



  1. I understand the humor that the company is trying to put forth and I do think that this campaign will work based on its "shock value". But this ad makes it seem that all women turn into bitches the instant PMS begins.Watch out, all that dairy is gonna get those stomachs churning, so be worrisome fellas.

  2. I agree with Marucci, I see the humor in the ads and I agree it will catch attention, but I would really like to see the ad creators make ads like this geared towards women, not just towards men. It would be nice if they created ads for women, teaching women the benefits that milk and other dairy products can offer, if they could do this in a humorous way, even better! Women don't need men bringing them cartons of milk while they are PMSing.This ad is sending the wrong message to men, like Marucci said, women don't always turn into bitches while they PMS, the message the ad is sending to men is that women are irrational, they can't control themselves and that women put blame on men "because they are PMSing".

  3. This ad implies the whole "women are crazy" attitude that so many men use as excuses for the results of their thoughtlessness in relationships. When women complain that men "don't listen" it's because they don't. Something as simple as grabbing the right kind of milk on their way home from work should be a simple thing that men are happy to do, not something that they do out of fear of consequences. So often men say, "everything i do is wrong" so I kind of find that aspect of the ad to be funny, but the whole idea that milk can reduce the symptoms of PMS is ridiculous! Nothing is more irritating that when guys assume you are PMSing just because you are frustrated with them. The ad bugs me.