Chunky-style milk ad turns stomachs of many viewers
If your reaction to Mint Mobile's Chunky Style Milk Super Bowl ad was anything like mine, you might have gagged a little watching it. And then walked away trying to shake off the images you just saw.
In the 30 second commercial, Mint Mobile, a lesser-known wireless company features a gross close-up of milk with chunks in it being poured from a carton into a glass.
Just then an animated fox appears—the company calls him its spokesfox—and says: “It’s right, alright. Now chunky-style milk? That’s not right.”
And then you see a mother, father and daughter in their kitchen. The mother says this milk “has the wholesome chunks kids need, unlike smooth-style milk,” as chunks ooze into a glass. The daughter drinks—and chews—her milk and the father asks to save some chunks for him.
The scene switches back to the man from the beginning of the ad.
“Oh, that’s not right,” he says. To which the spokesfox says, “Kind of like your wireless bill.” And the ad urges viewers to sign up for Mint Mobile.
The backlash was more than Mint Mobile expected Time reported. Twitter exploded with memes of people gagging. One tweet said, "Sometimes ads take risks and I always like companies willing to do that, but the Mint Mobile ad swung and missed with their rotten milk ad."
The majority of the people on Facebook said the commercial disgusted them, "kicked dairy farmers when they are already struggling," "was not a "smart marketing move" and suggested Mint should have done it's homework "before spending all that money angering a lot of people who might've purchased," their product.
One response on the company's Facebook page said, "Dairy farmers take pride in their product. It’s wholesome and one of the safest products anyone can drink. You should be ashamed to show a commercial like this without fully investigating how it can hurt another industry, the Dairy Industry."
One woman, whose daughter farms, told Mint, "Shame on you."
"My daughter works from sun up to sun down then turns lights on to care for her dairy, you making her product look disgusting in a time when farmers are getting suicide prevention letters in their milk checks was in poor taste," the Facebook post said.
Some people said a "silly ad" would have no impact on dairy farming, while others called the commercial a success because it got people talking.
Farm Women United Executive Director Tina Carlin contacted Mint Mobile condemning "the offensive and damaging "Chunky Milk Ad" that appeared during the Super Bowl because it graphically communicates to consumers that this kind of gross product MAY come out of milk cartons — generic or branded, it doesn't matter."
"It is fluid milk.This “ad” shows extreme insensitivity to the current plight of dairy farmers suffering from low milk prices and who cannot take any more "hits" that MAY result in lowering FLUID (NOT "CHUNKY"!!!) milksales/consumption," Carlin said in an email. "We are asking for you to issue a public apology stating it was never their intent to harm dairy farmers struggling with low milk prices by communicating that disgusting, revolting "chunky" milk is a possibility for our product buyers to find in the cartons and consume. It is a commercial attack on our product and threatens to reduce product sales."
Mint Mobile responded, "We’re sorry you were offended by our Super Bowl advertisement. We hope you’ll give Mint Mobile a try for our low prices and great service in the future regardless. Have a great day."
One person on Facebook took the opportunity to provide some education on milk.
"Here's a background on why milk would get chunky but you will rarely see that it does:
- Milk is FRESH and doesn't contain preservatives, so it can spoil easily (NATURAL!). Milk should be consumed by the expiration date.
- Milk is WHOLESOME. Bacteria know a good food source better than anything else(thanks to the protein, fat, minerals and vitamins found in milk). Very few foods can provide that much nutrition!
Milk is chilled at the farm, when it is being bottled and at the store. In fact, the first chance milk has to warm up is when you put it in your shopping cart. Take a refrigerated grocery bag with an ice pack to put your milk in at the store until you put it in your refrigerator.
Milk, I agree, shouldn't be chunky. Keep yours COLD and consume it by the expiration date.
Still another response reassured people saying, "I'm sure Mint loves dairy farmers just as I do. The whole chunky milk thing was meant to be funny and not to pick on anyone. If anything it reminded me to buy more milk and make sure my milk wasn't expired!"
One person asked, "Isn't chunky-style milk just cheese?" Someone responded saying, "Yep, It's called curd ... I though the ad was funny."
One man said the ad wasn't funny or smart but made "the average consumer feel sick to their stomachs. I turned my head away. Hmmm isn't the idea to actually want to watch the ad? You missed the boat on all levels."
Truth be told, I sided with the man who couldn't watch the ad, so the point of the commercial — low cost wireless service — escaped me — until I read about the social media backlash.
While many vowed to stay away from a carrier that used "an automatic negative association," that would make their stomachs turn, people are talking about a wireless carrier I'd never heard of before. Did the commercial achieve the result Mint Mobile hoped it would? You be the judge. I'm going to enjoy a cold glass of fresh milk — and not think about chunks.
Erik Brady, USA TODAY, contributed to the article.