The Question That Made Milk Famous


A well-known logo from the early days of the web: AOL’s “running man.”

Once in a blue moon, comes along a slogan that encapsulates the truth of an entire era.

Throughout the 1990s, AOL would cheerfully announce the arrival of each new electronic message with the greeting: “You’ve got mail.” Back in the early days of the web, one looked forward to receiving such communication. For one, the technology was a novelty. For another, it meant that the sender was a secret online lover or a chum or a family member—that is, people you wanted to hear from.

Today, Google celebrates the converse with the blunt text: “No new mail.” Activity in the inbox can mean either more work or more junk, neither of which is welcome. The e-mail has, over time, devolved into a tool of oppression. It’s a way for the boss to stay in touch with you after work hours. And in the hands of marketers, it’s an avenue to sell.

When people talk socially today, they connect over text, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, not e-mail.

“Got Milk?” It was this little question, which after its appearance in 1993, turned a piece of advertising into a cultural phenomenon. By the way, it also made milk famous.

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I’m So Silly. Look My Way.

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Swing it to the right; swing it to the left.

Many a time, while waiting in the car on Main Street, I’ve watched the pneumatic ballet of one of those tall, bright, humanoid balloons, flailing its arms and contorting its tubular form wildly.

Known as “tube men” or “air dancers,” typically, they “dance” over car dealerships and car washes to draw the attention of passers-by, which, of course, they do effectively.

“F” Is For … Not What You Think.

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In the coming days, the dating app, OKCupid, will run an advertisement campaign that has a new take on the initialism DTF, which stands for Down To Fuck.

It replaces the letter “F” with phrases such as, “Fall Head Over Heels,” “Fight about the President,” “Filter Out the Far Right,” among others. I like it because it attempts to tear away the sixth letter of the alphabet from its long, vulgar association with sex.