Monday, 1 December 2008


Here's the thing. I like milk.

I mean, what's not to like? You can drink it 'straight', you can froth it up and put it in your posh coffee, you can make milkshakes with it, you can pour it onto a bedazzling array of different breakfast cereals, you can turn it into cheese... You'd have to be mad not to like it. Milk is undoubtedly one of the best reasons for being alive. I'm always immediately suspicious of anyone who professes not to like milk, or even - yes - if they're not quite as over-enthusiastic as me. (That's you, you suspicious people, you.)

So, I have to admit that it grates with me every time I see one of these god-awful celebrity-endorsed milk adverts that seem to have constantly besmirched our streets and magazines and bus shelters and lives for at least the last decade.

The question is : Do I really want to see Myleene Klass or Nell McAndrew or anyone, actually, with milk smeared across their faces? No, thank you. Does it look attractive? No. Is it funny, perhaps? No. Does it make me want to buy milk? No. (I buy it anyway - lots of it - but that's besides the point.)

Why would anyone think this is even remotely attractive? Ugh! Clean yourselves up, honestly! You - celebrities! - did your mothers teach you no manners? Did they?? All you are demonstrating is a vulgar disregard for hygiene and a basic lack of cup-to-mouth manual co-ordination which most people learn and master well before they reach primary school age.

Of course, while facile celebrities can perhaps be expected to openly show off their vacuity in displays such as this, one might hope for advertising executives to have a little more decorum and respect for the products they sell. But who actually thinks that this is a good marketing idea? OK, having a milky moustache is a 'cute' thing for a small child to do - but let's not forget that small children also look 'cute' in dungarees, enjoy wreaking violence upon their siblings and often urinate in public at inappropriate times. Not cute. No.

What other foodstuff would advertisers treat this way? "Oooh, let's market our new baked beans by having Jonny Wilkinson plaster them across his face". or "I think the benefits of our new chocolate would best be demonstrated by having an X-Factor runner-up mash it into her hair or ankles"?

Thinking about all this in terms of culture, one can only hope that these ads and the people behind them, are symbolic of dying, pre-Credit Crunch British attitudes - of a voracious culture gorging on its own lazy profligacy, too busy consuming to notice it's own dirty face. Think about that next time you greedily guzzle a big glass of milk - but at least wipe your face afterwards, please...