Got Milk? (often stylized as got milk?) is an American advertising campaign on television and YouTube encouraging the consumption of milk and dairy products. Created by the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board in 1993, it was later licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers. It was launched in 1993 by the "Aaron Burr" television commercial, directed by Michael Bay. The national campaign, run by MilkPEP (Milk Processor Education Program) began to add the "got milk?" logo to its "Milk Mustache" ads in 1995.

Got Milk?
AgencyGoodby Silverstein & Partners
ClientCalifornia Milk Processor Board
Release date(s)1993–present

In January 2014, MilkPEP discontinued its Milk Mustache and "got milk?" advertisements,[1] launching a new campaign with the tagline "Milk Life". The campaign continued in California and the "got milk?" trademark is licensed to food and merchandise companies for U.S. and international sales. The campaign has led to increased milk sales in California,[2] although not nationwide.[3][4]


"Got Milk?" advertising on a barn in Marathon County, Wisconsin

The initial Got Milk? phrase was created by the American advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. In an interview in Art & Copy, a 2009 documentary that focused on the origins of famous advertising slogans, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein said that the phrase almost didn't turn into an advertising campaign. According to The New York Times, people at Goodby Silverstein "thought it was lazy, not to mention grammatically incorrect".[5]

The advertisements would typically feature people in various situations involving dry or sticky foods and treats such as cakes and cookies. The people then would find themselves in an uncomfortable situation due to a full mouth and no milk to wash it down. These include a commercial of a cruel businessman getting hit by a truck seconds after insulting someone over the phone and seemingly going to Heaven, only to find out it is actually Hell where he finds a huge plate of cookies and an endless supply of completely empty milk cartons; as well as a commercial of an airplane pilot intentionally putting his plane into a dangerously steep nosedive in order to obtain a bottle of milk from a flight attendant's cart out of his reach, only for the cart to crash into a man who gets out of the bathroom right in front of the cart and the bottle to tip over. At the end of the commercial, the character would look directly to the camera sadly and then boldly displayed would be the words "Got Milk?" The print advertisements would feature food such as a sandwich, cookies, or cupcakes with a bite taken out of them or cats, and children demanding milk.[6]

The first Got Milk? advertisement aired nationwide on October 29, 1993, which featured a historian (played by Sean Whalen) receiving a call to answer a radio station's $10,000 trivia question (voiced by Rob Paulsen), "Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?" (referring to the Burr–Hamilton duel). The man is shown to have an entire museum solely for the duel itself, packed with all the artifacts. He answers the question correctly by saying "Aaron Burr", but because his mouth is full of peanut butter sandwich and he does not have milk to wash it down, his answer is unintelligible. The DJ promptly hangs up on him, as he whimpers the answer one last time to show his displeasure on having missed out on the prize. The ad, directed by Michael Bay, was at the top of the advertising industry's award circuit in 1994.[7] In 2002, the ad was named one of the ten best commercials of all time by a USA Today poll and was run again nationwide that same year.[8]

The slogan "Got Milk?" was licensed to the National Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) in 1995 to use on its print ads, which, since then, have included celebrities like Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams, as well as fictional characters from TV, video games, and films such as the Avengers, the Simpsons, Batman, Mario, the Powerpuff Girls, and SpongeBob SquarePants posing in print advertisements sporting a "milk mustache" and employing the slogan "Where's your mustache?"[9] The milk mustache campaign was created by art director Bernie Hogya[10] and copywriter Jennifer Gold. The milk mustache campaign promoting the Super Bowl has also been featured in USA Today; the Friday edition featured one player from each Super Bowl team to the player from the winning team in Monday's edition. It was not featured in 2014 since the advertising focus that year was on the "Protein Fight Club" campaign, which promoted the importance of eating breakfast with milk, and the "Refuel: Got Chocolate Milk" campaign.

Former California Governor Gray Davis expressed his dislike for one commercial and asked if there was a way to remove it from the air. It featured two children who refuse to drink milk, because they believe milk is for babies. They tell their mother that their elderly next-door neighbor, Mr. Miller, never drinks milk. They see him going to use his wheelbarrow when suddenly his arms rip off because, having not consumed milk, his bones are weak and fragile. The children scream in horror and then frighteningly start imbibing every last drop of milk they have.[11]

From 1994 to 2005, ads appeared in California directed at Hispanic consumers, using the tagline "Familia, Amor y Leche" ("Family, Love and Milk"), created by Anita Santiago Advertising. In 2005, the Spanish-language campaign was awarded to ad agency Grupo Gallegos, which changed the tagline to “toma leche”, or “drink milk”.

According to the Got Milk? website, the campaign has over 90% awareness in the United States, and the tagline has been licensed to dairy boards across the nation since 1995. Got Milk? is a powerful property and has been licensed on a range of consumer goods, including Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels, baby and teen apparel, and kitchenware. The trademarked line has been widely parodied by groups championing a variety of causes. Many of these parodies use a lookalike rather than the actual persons used in the original Got Milk? advertisements. In 2005, the California Milk Processor Board created a "Got Ripped Off?" poster showcasing its top 100 favorite parodies of the slogan.[12]

The voice saying "Got Milk?" in most of the nationwide television commercials is that of American voiceover actor Denny Delk. Other narrators have occasionally been used.[13]

In February 2014, MilkPEP announced that it would discontinue licensing the slogan for its advertising in favor of a new tagline, "Milk Life".[14] Despite this, the California Milk Processor Board (the creators and owners of the trademark) continue to use it.[15]

In 2020, MilkPEP revived the campaign in light of increased sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

Parodies and references


The slogan is a snowclone, having appeared in numerous alternative versions on T-shirts and in other advertisements. By 2007, the slogan had become an international icon, and the phrase has been parodied more than any other ad slogan.[17]

  • In the Friends episode "The One with the Mugging", Monica points out that Ross was not the originator of the "Got Milk?" advertisement.[18]
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "Cookie Crisis", when Johnny realizes that he accidentally bought a million and two boxes of cookies, he turns over to the viewer and asks "Got milk?"[19]
  • The Sonic Adventure 2 level Radical Highway features a blimp in the level that reads "got ring?"; this Easter egg was carried over into the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, which also features Radical Highway.
  • For the most part, the California Milk Processor Board has ignored the alternative uses, although in 2007, it threatened a lawsuit against PETA for its anti-dairy campaign "Got Pus?", which began in 2002.[20]
  • In a 1997 episode of Frasier called "Three dates and a breakup" when the character Roz has a milk moustache Frasier says the phrase "Well, here's a hint: Got Milk?" to tell her about it. [21]
  • In 2002, a Washington state resident applied for a vanity plate reading "GOTMILF". This plate was approved, but was later canceled after complaints were filed against it.[22]
  • In 2004, the slogan was imitated by artist David Rosen, with the popular political design "Got Democracy?" in reaction to the Iraq War.[23][24]
  • In Garfield: The Movie, Garfield asked the question "Got Milk?" after drinking a whole bottle of milk.[citation needed]
  • In the 2000 film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, after Buddy Love unknowingly consumes a formula made by Sherman Klump and age regresses into an infantile state, he tries to escape and lands in a female secretary's breasts (played by February 1998 Playboy Playmate Julia Schultz). While looking at her breast cleavage he quotes the phrase "got milk".[25]
  • In the Daria episode "Psycho Therapy", Jake Morgendorffer, when his efforts to get a glass of milk are thwarted by his wife Helen, roars, "Got milk? Not Jakey! Dammit!"[26]
  • In the Season 1 episode "It's Hokey Mon!" of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Mandy creates her own monster that turns the other monsters into toast; at the end of the episode, Mandy's monster is eating toast in bed and asks her, "Got milk?"[citation needed]
  • On an episode of The Nanny, Fran pretends to be upset at a joke CC made at her expense, waiting for her to leave room before breaking the fourth wall, looking at the audience and saying "Got guilt?"
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", Jerry Smith pitches an advertising campaign "Hungry for apples?", inspired by "Got Milk?", which gets him fired.[27]
  • In 2015, the YouTube page for the musical Hamilton uploaded a parody of the "Who shot Alexander Hamilton?" advertisement in which the man eating a peanut butter sandwich is played by Leslie Odom Jr., who played Aaron Burr in the original Broadway cast of the show. The video ends with the classic slogan on a black screen, parodied to read "got hamilton?"[citation needed]
  • In 2016, singer Fergie released the music video for her song "M.I.L.F. $", which includes various models parodying the got milk? advertisements but instead with "got milf?"[28]
  • In January 2023, Martha Stewart appeared in a commercial promoting Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot that ends with the tagline "got booster?"[29]
  • On the 2023 television series Twisted Metal, postapocalyptic delivery drivers known as Milkmen use "got milk?" bumper stickers on their vehicles.[30]
  • The name of drag performer Gottmik, who appeared on season 13 of RuPaul's Drag Race, is pronounced like the slogan.[31]
  • Metallica band member James Hetfield has a guitar with the words, "got riff?" on it, due to him being the rhythm guitarist in the band, and also responsible for writing Metallica's most memorable and insane riffs.

See also



  1. ^ Schultz, E.J. (February 24, 2014). "'Got Milk' Dropped as National Milk Industry Changes Tactics". AdAge.
  2. ^ Holt, Douglas B. "Case History: Got Milk?". ANA Educational Foundation. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  3. ^ "Marketing campaign case studies: Got Milk?". April 21, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Kardashian, Kirk (February 28, 2014). "The End of Got Milk?". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (August 20, 2009). "The Birth of 'Just Do It' and Other Magic Words". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  6. ^ "Home". Got Milk. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  7. ^ MacLeod, Duncan (May 15, 2009). "Aaron Burr Got Milk". The Inspiration Room. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  8. ^ Raine, George (July 9, 2002). "Popular 'Got Milk?' ad to return / Recycling of 'Aaron Burr' is unusual among TV commercials". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 23, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  9. ^ Cross, Mary (2002). A Century of American Icons: 100 Products and Slogans from the 20th-Century Consumer Culture. Greenwood Press. pp. 202–204. ISBN 978-0313314810. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Daddona, Matthew (June 13, 2018). "Got Milk? How the iconic campaign came to be, 25 years ago". Fast Company.
  11. ^ Raine, George (October 22, 2005). "'Got Milk?' ad strikes out with Major League Baseball: Commercial is parody of performance-enhancing substance use". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  12. ^ Nudd, Tim (June 28, 2005). "The top 100 spoofs of "Got milk?"". Adweek. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  13. ^ "What makes an ad iconic? | Marketing Edge Magazine". Marketing Edge Magazine. December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  14. ^ Durando, Jessica (February 24, 2014). "'Milk Life' replaces 'Got Milk?' ad campaign". USA Today. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  15. ^ Nichols, Laura (March 6, 2014). "CA Milk Board explains why it's sticking with 'Got Milk?'". PRWeek. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  16. ^ Wallace, Alicia (August 3, 2020). "The 'Got Milk?' ads are back but they're not like the ones you remember". CNN Business. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Werner, Erica (December 12, 2007). "Suit threatened over Got Milk? parody". USA Today. Associated Press.
  18. ^ "The Timeless Elixir: Got Milk". MOST TECHI. June 2, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  19. ^ "The Timeless Elixir: Got Milk". MOST TECHI. June 2, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  20. ^ "PETA faces possible suit over Got Milk? knockoff". The Spokesman-Review. December 13, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  21. ^ "Three Dates and a Break up 1 — Frasier Transcripts Season 4 Episode 19 — the Frasier Archives".
  22. ^ "End Of Road For GOTMILF License Plate". The Smoking Gun. July 21, 2004. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  23. ^ Sweeney, Emily (February 26, 2004). "Getting it on their chests". The Boston Globe.
  24. ^ "Boston magazine cover". July 2004. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012.
  25. ^ Segal, Peter (Director) (May 30, 2011). Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps (9/9) Movie CLIP - Sherman Tricks Buddy (2000) HD (YouTube). Fandango Movieclips.
  26. ^ "The Timeless Elixir: Got Milk". MOST TECHI. June 2, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  27. ^ "Jerry's "Hungry for Apples?" Pitch is a Real 'Rick and Morty' Ad". Inverse.
  28. ^ "The Timeless Elixir: Got Milk". MOST TECHI. June 2, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  29. ^ "Pfizer Inc. Vaccine Commercial (2023)". YouTube. Pfizer. Retrieved January 16, 2024.
  30. ^ Twisted Metal | Official Teaser | Peacock Original, retrieved August 14, 2023
  31. ^ Kacala, Alexander (January 9, 2021). "Meet Gottmik, the 1st transgender man to compete on 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". Today. Retrieved December 7, 2023.

Further reading