The Upshot

Got controversy? New milk campaign helps men deal with PMS

The true sufferers of premenstrual syndrome? Men, if an ad campaign from the California Milk Processor Board is to be believed.

But help is on the way: The dairy group has a new marketing strategy that slyly suggests men should buy women milk to alleviate monthly symptoms in the women they love. The campaign includes billboards, a website, and radio ads that advise men on how to deal with their hormonally challenged, blame-casting wives and girlfriends. One ad shows a man holding a gallon of milk with the headline: "We can both blame myself."

The spoof website,, includes a color-coded "current global PMS level," a "puppy dog-eye-zer" that supposedly gives a guy's face a look that's hard to stay mad at, and a "video apology enhancer." The site also provides an "emergency milk locater," natch.

Responses on Yahoo! News have been mixed. One commenter  sniped, "Udderly ridiculous." Another gave it the thumbs-up, writing, "This ad campaign is hilarious. I don't get why it's considered controversial. It pokes fun at men and women."

Click image to see the other milk ads

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The board's executive director, Steve James, said the ads are directed at helpless men: "It was certainly not meant to be offensive. None of the humor is aimed at women. The humor is aimed at how clueless men are in dealing with emotional situations."

The science behind the ads? The Milk Board's website points to a 1999 study from the Journal of American College of Nutrition—which had ties to the calcium manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, according to the Associated Press. The story noted that Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, chairwoman of the University of California, Davis Department of Nutrition, was skeptical, saying, "I'm not familiar with research supporting that relationship at this time."

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The new marketing push is not the first from the milk industry to generate controversy. A 2009 campaign launched by the Milk Board encouraged schools to serve flavored milk. Their argument: Kids who missed out on the nutrients of the white stuff would drink the sweetened beverage. Still, others argued that sugar is sugar and a contributor to childhood obesity.

School districts across the country that blew off the Milk Board message and banned the sugary drinks from their cafeterias include D.C., Boulder, Colorado, and, most recently, the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Another campaign that churned up complaints: a claim that drinking milk could make you thin. A 2006 billboard featuring a svelte Sheryl Crowe claimed, "Studies suggest that the nutrients in milk can play an important role in weight loss." However, the studies had mixed, non-conclusive results, according to USA Today.

Watch more about the new milk ads below.

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