About 25 years ago, the milk industry launched a very clever campaign to get Americans to drink more milk. “Got Milk” featured celebrities including Christie Brinkley, Hugh Jackman, Britney Spears, the BackStreet Boys, and Spike Lee. There’s great debate whether this campaign has been a success. While milk sales continue to decline, consumption of other dairy products, especially cheese, are on the rise.
One thing is clear: The “Got Milk” campaign is one of the most memorable in marketing history. At the very least, it put the phrase “Got Milk” in the popular culture and probably spurred at least some people to examine whether they should give mik a second try.
This kind of bold, brash marketing campaign is exactly what the media industry needs. In May’s Newspaper and Technology magazine, I argue that media companies need to go on a campaign of shameless self promotion. The industry has to tell customers why it’s relevant, point out the print and digital media have huge watchdog rolls monitoring government on behalf of our citizens, and note specific cases in which its made a difference. We need to remind people, in an aggressive and innovative way, that we have a direct and daily impact on the lives of people in our coverage areas.
Historically, media companies haven’t done that, believing the work should speak for itself, and that, somehow, promoting what we do conflicts with our journalist standards. And look where that’s gotten us.
It’s time to take another approach.