I think 2024 will finally be the year we bring back the brand mascots with deep and terrible lore. We finished off 2023 with a public Pop-Tart sacrifice. We learned the names of all the Charmin bears AND Duke’s Mayonnaise gave us more biographical info about their new mascot Tubby. His favorite food? Duke’s Mayonnaise! He’s a mayonnaise vampire, sustained by his own lifeblood, and he looks like it.
Watching advertisers scramble to understand and advertise to Gen Z is my favorite. They’re beefing it, guys. They’re beefing it harder than that polar bear mascot with the big floppy shoes that keeps falling at an ice skating rink. You think, eventually, it will stop being funny and get sad, but it never does. You can try at home:
My favorite slow, sad rollout of new mascots with detailed backstories meant to appeal to Gen Z comes from a little company called the concept of Milk. They had one good advertising campaign in the late ’80s that got really weird and threatening by the late 90s.
Milk has decided to rebrand itself as a sports drink. They’re sponsoring marathons and doing serious black-and-white ad campaigns where athletic-looking Instagram models chug a half gallon of milk in their fancy yoga clothes. For some reason, at the same time, milk tentatively introduced roughly 4-5 new mascots with detailed personal lives we can reconstruct across their social media channels. A fun fact about these mascots is that milk is clearly embarrassed by them.
What? You’ve never heard of Bo, Jerri, Meelo, and Luke, the milk gang? That’s nuts. They were introduced in early 2022; I think mainly as some cool little guys milk can duet TikTok dances and challenges with. Let’s take a look at their super modern personalities and how milk has tweaked them over the last year to make them appeal to youths even more.
Bo is a female bottle of milk with a huge ass (yes, milk has a gender, and also an ass). This is a still from the cake challenge, where a human hand rolls a weight across the ground, and Bo has to stop it with her ass. Then she claps her prehensile ass cheeks together in joy, and they make the sound of two glasses toasting. It’s to prove that the milk bottle is caked up or has that cake and cake is a butt, as the kids today say.
Bo is so much more than ass, though; according to her introduction on Milk’s Instagram, she’s an activist and a tennis pro. It doesn’t specify what type of activist. Maybe don’t ask Bo where she was on January 6, 2021, though. I’ve got a bad feeling about the answer.
Luke is the Mickey Mouse of the MCU (Milk Cinematic Universe). He’s an aspiring DJ with absolutely no other personality traits. Milk made both Luke and Bo mascot costumes, which they sometimes force interns to run marathons in. The Bo one is both concerning and mysterious. Out of context, it could be any white obelisk, so they use the Luke costume way more often as he is identifiably Milk. Imagine the Bo costume chasing you on mile twenty of a marathon. You can’t. Your brain has safety mechanisms in place to prevent thoughts like that from fully forming.
Jeri is more of a background character. She’s sort of the Grimace of the MCU. She has no job, and all we know about her is she “loves to help people recover and level up.” Recover from what? I’m not sure. Is…is that a threat, Jeri? Why did milk feel like they needed this many mascots? I think they wanted a boy and girl milk of each color for some reason, but they ran out of jobs Zoomers think are cool after Aspiring DJ and Activist. She could have been a crypto expert, an MLM girly, a marijuana entrepreneur, a nepo baby, a van lifer, a crystal seller, or a certified breakdance shaman, but Milk didn’t want to put more than one second of thought into Jeri.
And finally, from the original four, there’s Meelo. Meelo has undergone the most changes since his original introduction in that he’s frigging ripped now and canonically has at least one, sometimes two, nipple piercings. You would think piercing a bottle of milk would be a problem, but apparently, his plastic flesh can heal around the piercing. Ew! A TikTok of Meelo flexing and inexplicably rolling his nipples in circles is one of Milk’s most popular, with 91K views and 171 comments. However, most of the comments are things like, “I wish I was lactose intolerant.”
Initially, milk thought they wanted Meelo to be the baby milk, and then they went so far in the opposite direction. They recently released a jingle on YouTube with the hook of “milk helps you get jacked,” where they did a pixelated Meelo as Mr. Universe roided out and ready to smash other beverages to a pulp with his bare fists. This milk bottle fucks with his boy milk genitals.
You might notice that earlier in the article, I said Milk introduced 4-5 new mascots. That’s because although there are 4 main mascots, sometimes they throw in others, like the strawberry milk, who squeezes her body until milk comes out of her straw, and then she drinks herself and squeezes again. At first, she seems to enjoy it, but toward the end of the video, the body horror of the process appears to hit her.
This is part of a jingle with the hook of “milk hydrates better than water.” I think maybe she’s supposed to be stranded on a tropical island and drinking her own head piss? Weirdly it doesn’t make me thirsty for milk at all, or piss. I just feel sorry for this nameless milk and want to get her help.
I think part of the reason Milk hasn’t taken the plunge and put these horrifying little guys front and center in their ad campaigns is that they were supposed to be part of a project called MilkTV that would feature YouTube videos and shorts around the characters. However, MilkTV is already the name of a Belgian art-punk band that comes up first when you Google MilkTV, which I don’t think the concept of milk is wild about being associated with. They might do something crazier than create the forever piss milk mascot.
MilkTV makes a lot of music videos, so I think it’s supposed to be a play on MTV, but by the time Zoomers were growing up, MTV was most famous for reality TV shows like Teen Mom and Catfish. They’re going to expect one of those milks to get pregnant or lure another milk into a relationship with a false identity, and who knows, that might happen eventually. I bet the TikTok crowd would love a Meelo and Bo pregnancy storyline. A half-pervert/half-obelisk baby could be the Gen Z Randy Quaid.
I can’t stress enough how much Milk advertising is mostly not this. It’s only when they dip into trying to relate to a younger audience where they totally fumble and get super weird about their mascot’s enormous ass. Did I mention there’s a Meelo butt ad as well?
Milk is at war with itself. They sort of want to do sleek, cool Nike ads, with athletes chugging chocolate milk to recover from a workout, and they also want to have four mascots with backstories who fuck. You would think they couldn’t have it both ways, but somehow they just are. They show up at marathons with Luke and Bo and say, “Guess what, everyone, these monsters named after a 45 year-old-show are going to chase you. Luke is an aspiring DJ. No, not a DJ, just a carton of milk that hopes to be a DJ someday. He’ll probably fail, anyway, run!” And everyone just accepts it.
Apparently, brands can get away with anything nowadays, and I think they should embrace that more. Let’s get weird, 2024! Pierce more mascots! Give them middle and last names. I want to buy an energy drink from a giant can named Timothy Carolton Gringle, whose job is accounting. He just happens to be an energy drink. I want to learn more about existing mascots. Tell me Tony The Tiger’s hopes and dreams! I bet they’re both hunks! Tell me the Trix Rabbit is uncircumcised. No, I didn’t ask; tell me anyway. There’s so much potential for mascot chaos this year.
This article was brought to by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Neil Bailey, who is a new type of snack cake with anxiety.