Friday, July 22, 2011

9056: Got Complaints? Milk Campaign Pulled.

The New York Times reported Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ “Got PMS?” milk campaign is being pulled due to public outrage. Most peculiar are the reactions of Jeff Goodby and the California Milk Processor Board, who expressed surprise at the speed and intensity of consumer complaints. Then again, the bewilderment is actually just a symptom of cultural cluelessness.

Under Fire, PMS-Related Milk Campaign Shut Down Early

By Stuart Elliott

A campaign by a milk marketer to address the serious subject of premenstrual syndrome in a humorous fashion — by focusing on how men purportedly suffer from its effects along with women — is being ended early after an outpouring of criticism and comments about the tone of the ads.

The campaign was introduced on July 11 by the California Milk Processor Board and its longtime advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, part of the Omnicom Group. The centerpiece of the campaign, which declares that “milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS,” was a microsite, or special Web site, that uses the Web address and addresses itself to men as “your home for PMS management.”

The content of the microsite includes “pre-approved apologies” from men to the women in their lives with PMS like “I’m sorry for the thing or things I did or didn’t do” as well as features like an “emergency milk locator.”

The microsite was scheduled to be live through the end of August. Instead, it is to be replaced on Thursday morning with another microsite, with the Web address, that is intended to foster conversations about the campaign’s premise and approach as well as provide more information about how drinking milk could help ease the symptoms of PMS.

(The name is meant to echo the theme of the California milk ads since 1993, “Got milk?” The theme is familiar beyond California because the California board licenses it for use by national dairy marketers.)

Computer users who type “” into their browsers are to be redirected to “”

The home page of the new microsite acknowledges that “regrettably, some people found our campaign about milk and PMS to be outrageous and misguided,” adding that others “thought it funny and educational.”

The microsite offers links to articles and comments that both praised and damned the campaign. The negative remarks include “This is an incredibly sexist campaign,” “The campaign probably will appeal to men, as sad as that makes me” and “Wrong: milk ad campaign blames PMS, insults women.”

Those negative remarks represent only a sampling of what has been a flood of complaints about the ads.

In addition to the criticism, there has also been pointed commentary about the campaign. For instance, the humor Web site posted parodies of the campaign that deemed it misogynistic.

Before the milk campaign was introduced, executives at the California milk board and Goodby, Silverstein acknowledged that it was intended to “get attention” and “ignite some social media discussion and conversation.”

But the executives seem taken aback at how quickly the complaints came in — many only a day or two after the campaign began — and how intense, even angry, the critics are.

Read the full story here.

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