MilkPEP – Milk Mustache Campaign


Milk consumption had been dropping for 30 years, but this dinner-table staple steadily fell out of favor during the 1980s. In fact, there was a 23 percent drop in per capita milk consumption reported for the 35 years from 1955 to 1990. Ironically, consumption had curdled both because it was seen as “good for you” and because it had developed a reputation as a health threat.

Generations of moms insisting that milk glasses be emptied – or else! – had made the drink uncool, and had sent kids flocking to sexier alternatives like soda. Studies had linked milk to diabetes and certain infant allergies. Then the drink began to accumulate bad press as a fat-laden artery clogger, prompting health-conscious Boomers to ban the white stuff from their diets.


By the mid-1990s, consumption was way down, and Bozell was hired by the national Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) to help reverse the trend. The result was the famous milk mustache campaign featuring models, athletes, rock stars and celebrities, shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.


Referred to as one of the most successful product makeovers in the history of advertising, within two years the following results emerged in surveys of the Milk Mustache campaign and inspection of sales response:

  • 22% more people saw milk as an adult beverage than before the campaign began.
  • 36% of women said the milk campaign made them want to drink more milk.
  • 70% who viewed the entire campaign considered milk cool and contemporary.
  • 86% thought milk was delicious after seeing the campaign.
  • After years of losses, milk sales were up 1.1% – a $220 million gain.