Great products make for great advertising campaigns and the National Fluid Milk Processors definitely have both. The milk mustache advertising campaign has reached epic proportions. The advertisements are now collected and traded by American youth, the news media has been proclaiming its effectiveness, and the ads have become the source of comical relief from comedians like Jay Leno and David Lettermen. The New York Times and USA Today each have proclaimed that this advertising campaign was in the top ten of all ad campaigns in 1995; coincidentally, it was the only print media campaign on the list. Normally, the public has not been as effected by testimonials and endorsements as in the past due to overuse; however, this advertising strategy was extremely effective. This campaign stopped a decline in milk consumption by Americans that lasted thirty years. Furthermore, it was even more effective on the original targets of women aged twenty-five to forty and teenagers.
Several reasons have developed this ad campaign to its elevated status. The new information about milk being necessary for preventing the loss of bone mass definitely took the pressure off of having to force the product on the public. The cute quips and comical undertones of the print in addition to the absence of pressure made for a light, entertaining campaign. By running an educational, as opposed to informational, campaign the advertisements only had to get your attention. Getting attention is no problem when a well-known face takes an entire page--and it has a white mustache. Although the reasons are not known, keeping specific targets separate was a good idea. Different readers of different magazines saw different celebrities. Certainly a teen-aged girl reading Seventeen Magazine will be more influenced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas than Lauren Bacall and it is certain that men looking through the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated at least noticed Tyra Banks sporting a swimsuit--and a milk mustache. Annie Leibowitz is an extremely well known and highly praised photographer. Print ads are very dependent on photographs and it is doubtful that a milk mustache would be as popular without her photographic talents. Her reputation as being a perfectionist and her work with Rolling Stone Magazine and Vanity Fair has earned her the title of America’s most celebrated portrait photographer. As a world-class photographer Annie Leibowitz definitely contributed to the success of the campaign.
Genuine arguments of the celebrities being paid insane amounts of money where demolished by the rules that Bozell Worldwide (the advertising agency) set forth. All celebrities were offered twenty five thousand dollars. This is a mere fraction of what Michael Jordan was paid for representing Hanes, Nike or any other product for that matter. Most importantly, all the celebrities featured must be milk drinkers (Whoopi Goldberg was denied because she is lactose intolerant). Although this is not common knowledge, it eliminates the arguments that the celebrities did the spots for the money, or that the celebrities do not use the product. Some celebrities were also involved in the writing of their specific ad. This led to a writing style that reflects the personality of the celebrity. This could only increase the effectiveness of the ads; an ad is certainly more believable if the reader “feels” the connection between the product and the star. For example, it is extremely difficult to believe that Ed McMahn truly depends on Colonial Life Insurance to pay for his funeral.
Since an educational campaign was used Bozell Worldwide was able to omit the annoying customer contact portion of the ads. This left more room for the celebrities and the product, certainly a plus. Without the annoying contact text or the legal disclaimer wasting space the readers saw more of what makes them smile, a big grin--with a milk mustache. The decision to not use television enabled the agency to utilize their limited budget more effectively in the print media. Full-page ads, containing a popular face with a milk mustache and a couple of printed words, occupied several different types of magazines. By flooding this market, the ads were more effective, which in turn increased the advertising budget for the next year. So effective, in fact, that the budget was doubled for the next two years. Although Bozell Worldwide could have done television ads, they decided to