This blog contains no milk.
Not a drop.
You know what else contains no milk?
The very popular, and also profitable, protein shake also known as “Muscle Milk.”
As you can see in the image to your right, right under the name of the product which includes the word “milk”, it says, “Contains no milk.”
Kind of silly, right? And obviously strategic. The company is playing partly to the connotation that milk is good for you, and partly to those non-dairy drinkers out there who want anything but milk in their mouths.
Nestlé even challenged the makers of MM over this issue, to which the company responded saying it wasn’t misleading and that the name was a “trademark” and therefore not false advertising.
Don’t you hate that kind of corporate advertising crap?
We all do.
But yet it works.
Muscle Milk, Diet Coke, Vitamin Water (why is it so many beverages?) are just a few examples of stretching the truth to make the sale . . . and I’m sure it bugs you as much as it bugs me. It feels a little icky, no?
But if it’s proven to work, would you do it?
I see this in the theater all the time too . . . with shows billed as the “#1 INSERT TYPE OF SHOW HERE on Broadway!” or “Tony Award Winning NAME OF SHOW” (when the Tony Award was for something like Sound Design). I’ve even seen some shows suggest that they were Broadway shows, even though they weren’t even close. (Ok, maybe they were close in location, but that’s about it.)
And sure, I’ll admit, I’ve used these kind of tactics a few times in my career . . . but it always feels a little ooky.
A Broadway Ad Exec. once said to me, “My job is to get the butt in the seat. By any means necessary. Your job, Mr. Producer, is to make sure they love the show, so they don’t care how they got in the seat.”
See what I mean about the ooky factor?
I’m not going to come out with a strong opinion on this one, one way or the other. Because frankly, I’m not sure how I feel.
I’m writing this blog to find out how you feel. So tell me. How far is too far? Is Muscle Milk unethical? How far would you go to sell tickets for your show . . . in order to get your investors their money back and keep people employed?
Comment below, cuz I am curious.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.