creative selling, disruptive media, Got Milk?, sales

We Got Food & Wine to Change its Name to Food & Milk! (No, really).

One of the more creative integrated campaigns I’ve worked on as a sales person was with the CA Milk Processor Board (AKA Got Milk) with Goodby Silverstein in San Francisco. Jeff Goodby himself was on our initial kick-off call, where my team and I had the seemingly impossible task of convincing the editors at Food & Wine to allow a custom cover wrap over the existing December 2017 cover renaming its fabled brand to “Food & Milk.” And, oh, this would be mailed to every California subscriber.

The goal was to produce a fresh creative stunt for the holidays to get consumers to think of milk as a beverage that belonged on the big people’s table along with the appetizers as part of its “Food Loves Milk” campaign that also included TV and digital.

In a lesson in patience, perseverance, diplomacy and sheer will–it got done. But, here’s just a few of the hurdles we had to jump over to get there:

  1. Editors weren’t opposed to the idea, but understandably wanted to be involved and review all concepts.
  2. Agency was fine with this but wanted to view the actual cover image to ensure their creative was in harmony.
  3. Time Inc. legal wasn’t a fan of either of these ideas and dithered for weeks on the feasibility of the concept.
  4. Finally, the legal team shifted their interpretation of this being a ‘copyright infringement’ to a ‘brand takeover’ and we got a green light.
  5. Then the US Postal Service got in on the act. Apparently, we’d incur a hefty postal up charge if we wanted to pursue this as it violated the periodical rate. We’re talking a six-figure increase.
  6. Finally, we arrived at a concession where the actual Food & Wine logo could appear in a tiny font below the Food & Milk logo, which satisfied the requirement and we got the up charge waived.
  7. We then discovered that the Food & Wine logo, though simple and elegant, is actually a custom font. As such, we had to engage the services of the Time Inc. (now Meredith) creative studio, The Foundry, to make us a custom M, L, and K for the word ‘Milk.’
  8. And then we were good!! See below for all the press this got. We didn’t get to toot our own horn because the legal folks got skittish. But, my prediction is we’ll see a lot more creative executions like this where marketers borrow interests from key brands and platforms to keep their audience guessing. Fun stuff!



This is the cover and inside front cover of the December 2017 issue that was mailed to CA subscribers of Food & Wine over their “real” cover!–milk/53275


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