Coming to Grocery Stores: 'Got Milk?' Branded Food

California's Milk Industry Licenses Iconic Slogan to Makers of Cookies, Granola and More

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Got Milk? … Or cereal, or cookies, or granola bars?

The answer from the organization behind the famous ad tag line is now yes, thanks to a new licensing initiative that is spawning a range of new Got Milk-branded food items.

The California Milk Processor Board -- which established the iconic campaign in 1993 -- had previously licensed the slogan to existing brands, including Oreo, Wheaties and Pillsbury, said W. Stephen James, executive director of the Milk California Processor Board. Mattel even sold a "Got Milk?" Barbie In the late 1990s, he recalled. But this is the first time the famous tag line has been used to create a range of Got Milk?-branded foods from scratch, he said.

The program was put into motion when the board hired Beanstalk as its exclusive brand extension agency a couple years ago.

So far, deals have been reached with three partners, whose products are meant to be paired with milk. The Melville Candy Company, for example, has created a line of hot chocolate flavoring spoons. Another partner, called Got Snacks?, is marketing Got Milk?-branded cookies, granola, snack bars and more. The third partner is Diversified Flavor, which is selling flavored milk straws as well as "liquid milk infusers," which are small tubes containing flavors like iced mocha that are meant to be squeezed into a glass of milk.

"Every single one of them will increase the consumption of fluid milk," said Mr. James, who was in Chicago recently promoting the program to food buyers and brokers at the annual Sweets and Snacks Expo.

With milk consumption sluggish, the industry could use the boost. Euromonitor International projects that fresh/pasteurized milk sales will fall 10.8% from 2014 to 2019.

"We are hoping efforts such as these will get people to think about milk [and] think about products that make them crave milk," Mr. James said.

By law the board must limit its ad spending within California borders. But the licensed products can be marketed nationally by the board's partners. The sales will "create the royalty revenue for us that we can use in our program in California," Mr. James said.

In recent years, the board's licensing program has brought in revenue in the six-figure range, he said. But with the new branded food program, "we are hoping that that increases exponentially," he said. Retailers already carrying the products include ShopRite, Travel Centers of America and Sam's Club in Puerto Rico, while future availability is planned at Albertsons and IGA, among others, according to the board. A national e-commerce push is also in the works.

The program comes 15 months after the national Milk Processor Education Program dropped the "Got Milk?" slogan in favor of a new tagline, "Milk Life." The national group had licensed the tagline from the California organization beginning in 1995. That was a couple of years after after Goodby, Silverstein & Partners created the campaign for the state group.

But "Got Milk?" still resonates across America, with national awareness of more than 90%, according to the California board.

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