That it took only a year for consumers to rate the campaign from Bozell, New York, No. 1 is a testament to print creativity, target marketing and media savvy.
"We put all our money into print," explains Chief Creative Officer Jay Schulberg, "not because we had to [like alcohol or tobacco], but because we wanted the most impact. We also gave the ads a simple poster-like look so they would pop off the page."
Once off the page, the images of celebrities with milk mustaches clearly stuck in readers' minds. And though a budget of more than $35 million guaranteed ubiquity, it was clever positioning that secured memorability.
That is, each celebrity not only plays to his or her natural audience but delivers a message relevant to that audience. Examples: Kate Moss registers with model wannabes about calcium's importance to bones ( "Unlike 75% of women today, there's one way I'm taking care of mine"): Tony Bennett imparts an American Heart Association dictum to his demo ("Skim and 1% milk are a great way to reduce fat in your diet") and San Francisco 49er Steve Young expands milk's perception among men ("Has eight other essential nutrients that keep your body strong").
Use of the famous (as opposed to regular folks) was intended to be half-and-half.
"We just happened to start with the celebrities and the whole thing exploded," said Mr. Schulberg.
Four out of five readers who mentioned this as the outstanding campaign talked about celebrities. But with so many of them in the campaign, no single one stood out. And now according to Mr. Schulberg they have "droves of celebrities lining up for their own guest appearances."
Dave Vadehra is president of Video Storyboard Tests, New York. Campaign Clout reports on consumer response to current advertising.