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?