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Monday, June 07, 2010

Attention Lawyers: The Other MooTopia

In my last post I talked about MooTopia, a "designer milk" that's been around for years, yet has such a low profile that its own company's website doesn't even mention it.

It gets funnier. Unless you're a corporate lawyer.

Mootopia is also the latest ad campaign from the California Milk Processor Board. Which you shouldn't care about in the least, unless you're one of the people who live for this sort of stuff. In that case you know them as the progenitors of the insanely successfully "got milk?" ad avalanche that's been running for 17 years!

Every once in a while, though, they crank out a variation. And starting just this past April, the new ad campaign - from the same fabled ad firm - has been "the comic complications of living someplace where one’s milk cup always runneth over — a 'milky magical land' known as Mootopia."

You read that correctly. The most powerful force in the milk world stole another milk manufacturer's brand name as the focus of their new campaign.

[Disclaimer: Hey, for all I know there was a deal made by Select Milk Producers Inc., the makers of MooTopia milk, to license the name MooTopia to the California Milk Processor Board. But I haven't yet found a single reference that links the two. Yes, you're reading about it here first. A Planet Lactose exclusive. Stop the presses!]

Here's what Stuart Elliott of New York Times has to say about the campaign.

On a Web site (VisitMootopia.com) and in television commercials, female inhabitants of Mootopia, using straws to drink from a lake of milk, learn how problematic having beautiful, shiny hair can be. The men are all so strong from drinking milk that arm-wrestling contests settle no arguments.

And the dentist in Mootopia realizes he chose the wrong profession because he cannot even give away free cleanings to people with what he calls "perfect teeth."

Running ads about the effects of deprivation "was a strategy that worked well for us lo those many years," said Steve James, executive director of the milk board in San Clemente, Calif.

But some recent, short-term initiatives that played up the functional benefits of milk — like a campaign spoofing the steroids scandal in baseball, proclaiming milk was a "performance-enhancing substance" — were well received, he added.

That led to consideration for a shift in the direction of the campaign, Mr. James said, to portraying milk as a "superdrink," superior to sports drinks, sodas or energy drinks, "without getting all clinical."

The website is VisitMootopia.com, a flash animation hog that takes forever to load. (Forget about viewing it on your iPads.) All the commercials are there. And only there. They've been removed from YouTube. (And quite properly, since they were uploaded without permission. There is a mootopia channel, but oops: it's a user named mootopia.)

I love corporate screw-ups because I'm a one-person operation and I have to do all the work and make sure everything is right all the time. Corporations pay hundreds of people thousands of dollars to do similar stuff and still manage to get it wrong astoundingly more often than I do.

Oh, please send this around until it goes viral. I'd love to read about the milk ad superfirm of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners looking for Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe to whip up a quick settlement wiping the white milk from their red faces.

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