The newest ad in the “Got Milk?” campaign has an unlikely spokeswoman: the ghost of a weeping woman who killed her kids and herself. Hispanic kids may get the reference to the legend of La Llorona, but others are scratching their head. Brooke talks with David Delgado, one of the ad’s creators, and Jeff Manning of the California Milk Processor Board.
El llanto over spilled leche
January 19, 2002
BROOKE GLADSTONE: The people who brought us the "Got Milk?" campaign are now aiming their udders at Hispanic youth. The California Milk Processor Board asked 4 advertising students to come up with some culturally resonant pitches. The winning campaign makes prominent use of a bogeyman or bogeywoman that Spanish speaking parents have long used to get kids to do stuff they don't want to. More on that in a moment. Now we're joined by Jeff Manning, the executive director of the California Milk Processor Board. Welcome to the show.
JEFF MANNING: Thank you very much. It's an honor to be here.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Thank you. And David Delgado is a student at the Art Center College of Design majoring in advertising. Welcome to you too, David.
DAVID DELGADO: Thank you very much. [RECORDED SPOOKY WOMAN WEEPING AND MOANING]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: You must know this ad very well. Would you just describe what's happening?
DAVID DELGADO: It begins with La llorona walking down a hallway and it's a beautiful ghostly figure. Walks through a couple's room; they're asleep; he had just fallen asleep reading The Legend of La llorona. She walks into the kitchen through a wall, and-- she looks at the refrigerator, and I believe at this point she opens it up-- [FEMALE VOICE GASPING!] and sees the milk. [GLISSANDO ON HARP]
DAVID DELGADO: It turns out the milk is empty. [WOMAN WEEPING/MUSIC DARKENS] And she begins crying again.
ANNOUNCER: Got milk?
DAVID DELGADO: And walks out of the room.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Okay! La llorona is a mythical Latina ghost of a mother now roaming the earth in tears after murdering her children and killing herself, so David Delgado -- is she the best spokeswoman for milk?
DAVID DELGADO: Well we thought it's been around for so long it's, it's not something that's that scary any more. We wanted to create something that would communicate to Latino teens. It's kind of a marker of what's happening in especially California -- I mean Latino-Americans are mainstream and I don't think there should be any reason why you couldn't have that same content on network TV.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Okay, well at test screenings Anglo kids were puzzled by this ad while Latinos were happy to see part of their culture on television. Does this suggest that you're willing to confuse most of your audience to grab the attention of at least one part?
JEFF MANNING: Yes! I mean there's some mystery here - what was wonderful in these same focus groups --the non-Spanish speaking kids would turn to the Hispanics in the room and say what was that about?! And they would say - oh! It's La llorona! Let me explain it to you! That's pretty magical when that happens!
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So Jeff you got about 2 dozen proposals from the 4 advertising majors. David, were there any legends that you rejected?
DAVID DELGADO:We're actually telling another story. This was the Tchupicava [sp?]. The Tchupicava is almost like a vampire who entered a grocery store and caught a grocery store clerk off guard and went in the back to take a break and was drinking some milk and as he reached to grab one of the cartons of milk, he got pulled from the other side by the Tchupicava and was thrown on the ground, and the milk was tossed back out to him with two fang holes punctured through the milk carton.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And you just didn't think the milk-sucking vampire would probably sell as much milk.
DAVID DELGADO: [LAUGHS] No that one got the reject.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well thank you very much.
JEFF MANNING: Great pleasure.
DAVID DELGADO: Thank you.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Jeff Manning is the executive director of the California Milk Processing Board and David Delgado is a student at the Art Center College of Design majoring in advertising. [MUSIC]
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