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The folks who painted milk mustaches on famous faces are using a talking milk carton as their newest "celebrity" spokespackage.

America's dairy farmers and processors are leveraging a third of their total marketing budget-$60 million-against the edgy new TV effort started this week. The idea is to marry the nutritional strategy of the National Fluid Milk Processor Education Program with the sharp-witted tone of Dairy Management Inc.'s "Got milk?" (AA, July 26).

One spot features a mouthy guy dressed in a milk carton suit, razzing mediocre urban basketball players, saying they'd improve if they'd drink milk.

"That's a miss. That's lame," he exhorts from outside a chain link fence surrounding the basketball court. "You know why you don't have game? 'Cause you don't got milk. That's why. Vitamin D. You want the D? You need me." The "Got milk?" tag follows.

Another Bozell, New York, spot features three elderly diner patrons blowing spitballs at young toughs who harass a fellow diner. As the three beefy thugs confront the giggling men, the geezers down glasses of milk and are fortified to head-butt the young men and race out of the restaurant. A third animated spot features Nintendo of America's Super Mario character.

The milk carton guy "manages to get across a lot of facts about milk that could be really boring and dull, but do it in a fun way. I mean he's a guy in a milk carton suit," said Bozell Executive Creative Director Brent Bouchez. "He says stuff that in a lot of other forms would be dreadfully dull."


The commercials are the first TV done by Bozell for milk in its five-year tenure on the business. The milk mustache will continue in print, with a harder nutritional focus.

DMI and MilkPEP hope the new effort will boost sales, which slid 1% from 1994 through the end of last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For the same period, per capita consumption slipped 4%.

Though previous efforts by both DMI and MilkPEP have not succeeded in driving milk consumption, consumer testing of the new ads indicates the campaign gives "more specific and relevant reasons" to drink milk, said Kurt Graetzer, CEO of MilkPEP.

Although it will no longer run nationally, the "deprivation" theme created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, still will be used by the

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