March 1997
s m u g
target audience
by Leslie Harpold

That's No Milk Mustache

Milk ad Milk ad

I have to say what no one else seems to have the courage to say openly. Expose the milk ads for the porn stills they are. Being raised in America's Dairy Belt, I know from milk mustaches, and I have never ever had myself, nor have I ever seen a face so adorned, as a result of deep drinking of a big glass of moo juice.

The fact of the matter is, I'm sick of having to exchange knowing looks with people as we look at the ads on bus shelters, or in magazines, not having the guts to verbalize the subtext of our thoughts - saying exactly why the milk ads make us blush and giggle.

I do know, however that the reaction is universal. It looks like a come shot from a high budget porn movie as photographed by Richard Avedon. It appears that the photos were taken right after the star of the ad had done the big wiping the chin with the forearm move before getting up to get a towel, lest they soil the fancy duds they're sporting. In no other endorsement of milk is it more obvious than in the Kristy Yamaguchi ad, where she remains bent over, poised to take her activities to the next scene of the movie we're not seeing, or perhaps still cramped from the whole doubleteam experience. People worry about the children, but they are more than happy to see one of America's teenage sweethearts poised to fulfill the nastiest pirate fantasy you could conjure and call it "cute."

Show Me the Money Shot

So at SMUG we're calling a spade a spade, this is no harmless whimsy here, this is full on exploitation. Why has no one said anything so far? Why have people been willing to quietly giggle to themselves and let it pass off under the auspices of safe family advertainment? And why do the celebrities keep signing up? Milk is the metaphor for America at its finest, and I actually salute the National Dairy Council for being able to pull this one off for so long. Here's why it works for Milk, and that kind of playing fast and loose with the bounds of good taste would be ineffectual for any other commercial endeavor.

Milk is defined as a symbol of America at one of its most fundamental levels. As we view promotions for the one thing we have had drilled into us that is not only good for us, but will give others the impression that we are good and pure boys and girls, we are reticent to say that the ads remind us of a time when the decision not to swallow was made. Milk is also traditionally viewed as a children's beverage, and these ads are designed to change that perception, so by adding a very adult undertone to the ad, we are presented with a set of emotions Beavis-like in nature, equivalent to a teenagers chortling when the teacher uses the word "member." To overtly point out the real first impression the ads give is to admit that you are unclean, that you are not worthy of drinking the purifying milk, you have been on one end or another of a blow job, or at least seen a VHS enactment of one.

Accepting the role as spokesperson for milk brings the endorser instant identification with the "Family Values" set - lauding them for being so deeply of America that they can simultaneously affect the pose of not knowing that the image's first impression is made on a whole different level. I'm sure that more than a few therapist's confidential notes hold confessions about their clients beating off to the Tyra Banks or Dennis Rodman milk posters. The same "Family Values Set" would never under any circumstances admit to having such a sordid imagination as to attach anything sexual to the ads, probably going as far as claiming to know nothing of the oral sodomy practice at all, having never spilled their seed for any purposes not directly related to procreation. This is beautiful too, since they are the only people who would dare to speak out against an ad so sexual in nature - the nature of the deviance however, silences them, for fear the fingers would, for once, point directly back at them. This is perhaps the greatest stroke of advertising genius since George Lois coined the phrase "I want my MTV!"

Sacred Cows

I won't even go into how no one could ever dare accuse all American male heroes like Steve Young of being gay. Which would be the only way him and the other male spokesmodels would get into a situation where they would get a little on 'em.

So, I guess that makes me bad, knowing and then verbalizing exactly what goes through mine and others minds when seeing the mustachioed stars pitching milk so we can avoid osteoporosis and be more American like them. I'm a bad girl for saying otherwise, and I'm sure if J. Edgar Hoover were alive today, I would now have an FBI dossier so thick you could prop up a three legged Doberman with it, but mercifully, that particular crossdresser is long gone and I don't have the proper amount of decorum to keep my knowledge of things dirty under wraps like a good girl.

back to the junk drawer

and such
and such

Milk ad

Milk ad

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