Another brilliant ad campaign bites the dust (commentary)

Another brilliant ad campaign bites the dust (commentary)

ALTHOUGH Freddy Mercury of Queen sang it years ago, it could be  considered an ode to some great advertising campaigns that are no longer with us:

"Steve walks warily down the street; Brim pulled way down low; Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet; Machine gun ready to go;

"Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Out of the doorway the bullets rip, To the sound of the beat. Another one bites the dust."

The one that bit the dust this time was "Got Milk?" It joins "Beef, It's What's for Dinner" among the groundbreaking ad campaigns for agricultural products that were prematurely extinguished.

Everybody remembers the gravelly voice of Robert Mitchum or Sam Elliott telling you what was on the night's menu: It was beef; nothing else would do for real men and real Americans.

It was one of the most brilliant marketing campaigns in the history of modern advertising. The good news is that it's coming back.

Standing right next to it in an imaginary marketing hall of fame is "Got Milk?" The dairy folks one-upped everyone when they convinced some of the most famous people in the world that the pinnacle of cool was posing for ads wearing a milk mustache.

Taylor Swift was a repeat poser, and Miley Cyrus sat for her portrait when she was still a wholesome, young ingénue.

Michael Jackson, Bat Man and Superman all had their upper lips painted. Tony the Tiger did it, and so did Rihanna before she became the hottest talent on the planet.

After a 20-year run at the top of the heap, "Got Milk" is being replaced with "Milk Life." I'll withhold judgment about the snooze factor until I've seen it a few times.

"Beef, It's What's for Dinner" lived on as a microsite (www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com) long after the television ads disappeared.

The latest campaign, announced a year ago, features the voice of Garrett Hedlund, a much lesser-known actor who has appeared in the television show "Friday Night Lights" and the movies "Troy," "Tron Legacy" and "Country Strong."

Because of a lack of the generous funding that helped the original beef campaign become a modern-day catchphrase a quarter-century ago, the new campaign is mostly relegated to radio.

Sadly, though, a lack of proper funding will probably keep both the beef and milk campaigns well below the incredibly high marks set by their predecessors.

It is time to revisit the various commodity checkoffs and seriously consider upping the agriculture industry's ante.

*Chuck Jolley is president of Jolley & Associates, a marketing and public relations firm that concentrates on the food industry.

Volume:86 Issue:12

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