Friday, May 15, 2009

got milk?

The "got milk?" campaign is one of the more successful ad campaigns in recent years, and the simple, white-on-black lowercase Phenix American text form of the logo is ubiquitous and instantly recognizable.

And like so many successful, iconic, and simple ad campaigns, it is constantly being echoed by imitators, some of whom are trying to be funny in their parody imitation, but most of whom are just borrowing the familiarity of the logo to try to catch your attention. There are so many of these now, and so many of them are so uninspired and bland, that the entire idea of the logo is diluted almost into uselessness.

Lately I've seen a run of them that aren't in the right font (or even in a similar font, don't stay in lowercase, don't use the right color scheme, and don't even follow the formula. And I don't mean ones that intentionally break the formula (like "gut deer?" which is feeble at best but at least the deviation is intentional), but ones where the object isn't something you can even "got", like a verb (not even in present participle).

Parody is a delicate art and it's even more challenging when you have so little to work with. The first thousand times someone made a "got jesus?" or "got beer?" sticker, it might have had some impact, but at this point, when someone makes a "got lungs?" parody or a derivative "got margaritas?" ad, about all they're really doing is strengthening the original ad campaign. All anyone thinks is how weak an imitation is of "got milk?" and so they're thinking about "got milk?" and not the clone.

In fact, the California Milk Processing Board (the original source for the campaign) has compiled a poster of the top 100 rip-offs of the got milk campaign. Of course, they've moved on to other variations on the campaign, such as the famous "milk mustache" version, but the logo is still alive and well. When ripping it off is so passé no one's doing it anymore, the actual logo will still be recognizable.

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