Telling Men They're Victims Of PMS Sure Is An Interesting Way To Sell MilkS

"Are you a man living with PMS?" asks a new ad campaign. The product for sale is milk. But don't feed the trolls.

The same people that brought you "Got milk?" are now trying to sell milk to men by telling them that it's linked, loosely, to alleviating PMS. According to The New York Times, "To make it seem as if the campaign is offering a public service to the men affected by PMS, the Web site's address ends with "dot-org" rather than "dot-com."

Some examples of what can be found on this website:

Telling Men They're Victims Of PMS Sure Is An Interesting Way To Sell Milk

Bitches are crazy, man.

Telling Men They're Victims Of PMS Sure Is An Interesting Way To Sell MilkS

Men love stocks!

Some of the taglines include, "I'm sorry I listened to what you said and not what you meant," and "We can both blame myself," and "I'm sorry for the thing or things I did or didn't do." This kind of "Take my wife" crap is so hackneyed that it seems beneath us to even point out how dumb and sexist it is. But yes. It is both.

The Milk Board has been marketing to men for a couple of years, but now they're turning to this newfangled Internet. The trouble is with this form, something that the Milk Board sounds both terrified and defensive about, is that it also allows people to talk back to ads. See, for example, the backlash to last year's Super Bowl ads, or the Shiny Suds that were pulled after the target audience didn't find the rapey imagery funny.

An unusually large chunk of the Times writeup of the campaign is devoted to a nervously coded discussion of whether there will be "pushback."

The new ads did well in qualitative and quantitative testing, Mr. James says, so he is expecting "very, very little in the way of pushback."

Still, he adds, he recognizes that "anytime you run anything, you get responses."

"If you do a microsite about how cute puppies are," Mr. James says, "you'll get feedback that says, ‘You're exploiting puppies.' "

The ads do not set up "a battle of the sexes," he adds, but rather present PMS as something "the sexes struggle with together."

Presumably when they say "pushback," they mean from angry bitches who probably have PMS anyway.

In any case, recent history suggests that there's a measure of controversy that generates enough heat to justify the media budget — all press is good press, etc. — as long as it doesn't reach the indeterminate point where it becomes a liability for the company and they back off. It's a tired trick, and a cynical one.

Campaign Says, Got PMS? Get Milk [NYT]