“Got Milk?”


This week I’d like to talk a little bit about the classic “Got Milk” advertisements that I guarantee everyone has seen at some point.  They are (or at least used to be) everywhere.  In case you haven’t seen them, they are posters and advertisements of hundreds of different celebrities with milk mustaches.  These can be famous historical figures, cartoon characters, athletes, movie stars, and pretty much any other famous person you can think of.

I think the  most obvious rhetorical device used in these advertisements is the relation from the celebrity depicted in the poster to the viewer of the poster.  The ads have the obvious message that “they drink milk, so why don’t you?”

Not only do they relate the viewer to the celebrity, but the people in the ad are always smiling.  I don’t think I have seen a single “Got Milk” ad in which the person is not smiling.  In both of these ways, the advertisements appeal to pathos.  They appeal to our emotions because we are drawn into the lives of the celebrities at hand.  If we drink milk, we can be just like them.  If we drink milk, we will be happy.  These are some of the obvious messages that the creators of these advertisers are trying to get across.

I think that these ads are very effective because they are so well known.  You don’t have to read past the first line to know what they are trying to tell you, and all you need is a quick glance at the signature milk mustache to know what the advertisement is for.

And yet, after the hundreds of this type of advertisement, they don’t seem to get old.  We still like seeing which celebrity will be the next model for them, and they always catch our eye and draw in our attention.  In these ways, I think the “Got Milk” ads are very effective.

What other ads have stood the test of time and have continued to entice us today?  And, going further, what part of these advertisements continues to draw our attention even after years of viewing the same type of ad?got-milk-superman

7 thoughts on ““Got Milk?”

  1. This was such a great idea! Even when I was little these ads were so popular that they were seen everywhere. Many advertisements appeal to the idea that celebrities do things, so you should too, but with these “Got Milk?” ads the concept is slightly different. Other commercials that use this idea are usually for products that you don’t necessarily need in life, but milk (in theory) is one of the most basic food items. When I was younger, my mom would always make me drink milk “To get strong bones,” and I think by using popular figures such as Superman this message is being conveyed to the audience. I think these ads continue to be enticing today because each celebrity sends a slightly different message; when athletes are pictured, they convey strength, but when models are depicted, they project beauty and finesse.

  2. Got Milk is definitely a great use of rhetoric. I remember sitting in my middle school cafeteria looking at the walls every day seeing those posters all over the place; and since me and my friends were dumb 13 year old boys and just wanted to have fun, we would of course mimic the posters and waste all of our money on milk. Like who does that? I would drink like 3 personal cartons of milk everyday at lunch, or at least buy three and then wind up spilling and throwing milk at my idiot friends. We use to get in so much trouble I don’t know how I was such a degenerate child at some point or how me and my friends all got in to colleges. But anyway, the use of these Got Milk ads, now that I know and can recognize, are greatly rhetorical. Any ad with the use of a celebrity is because it automatically makes the product cool, and who doesn’t like milk mustaches? This definitely turned milk-which is not the most preferred choice of beverage-in to something cool for kids to drink. Instead of loading myself up with sugar and caffeine at lunch with soda, juice or ice tea, I’d be pounding down milk cartons like it was my day job. Not only is there an intention for milk production and sales to spike, but a movement for a healthier life style in American children-which is necessary because our country just screams obesity.

  3. I completely agree that these “Got Milk?” ads never get old. I also don’t read the ads anymore because after seeing the milk mustache on whatever model is being used, I instantly know what the ad is about and what their goal is for producing the ad. Although these ads don’t mean anything to me personally, (I know that drinking milk is important, and telling me to drink more isn’t really going to do anything to me) I still enjoy seeing different celebrities with milk mustaches. They have almost made the milk mustache cool. Not only is drinking milk good for you, but when you drink it you get this awesome milk mustache! It’s like they are saying, “look how happy I am and how much fun I’m having with my milk mustache!”

  4. I specifically remember these ads as I was on my way to lunch every day in elementary school and middle school. Interestingly enough, I actually do not recall ever seeing a got milk? ad without any connection to a celebrity. Thinking about the concept, I think that it is very impressionable on young children who aspire to be famous athletes or movie stars, but I do not know how affective this is on an older generation. However, it is clear that this type of advertisement has worked throughout the years, as it is still very prevalent in posters everywhere. Other companies that rely heavily on celebrity endorsement are often advertisements for gum, energy drinks, and the like.

  5. It is very true that this add doesn’t seem to get old no matter how many times in the past we have previously already seen it. I cant count how many different celebrities I have seen on this exact advertisement. The different people on the add make you feel like if you drink milk you can become whoever they are and have the same skills set. I remember when I saw Olympic Gymnasts on the add I thought if I drank gallons of milk I too would be able to throw fulls and as many back tucks as I wanted without a problem… I soon found out that wasn’t true.

  6. The “Got Milk” ads are a great form of rhetoric. Adding to the effectiveness of the ad is the simplicity. Like you mentioned, the audience gets the idea right away. I find that the
    Apple commercials use the same technique. Instead of using a simple phrase, Apple uses a simple, white background in most of its commercials. That way, the images of its product become highlighted. I feel that simplicity is they key to successful advertising.

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