Jewish World Review April 24, 2002 / 13 Iyar, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

From child murderer to milk hawker | According to legend, La Llorona drowned her children in a jealous rage, and now spends eternity wandering, and weeping for them. If she sees actual children, the tale goes, she frequently mistakes them for her own, and jumps with them into the deeps. Apparently, Mexican parents have been using her for centuries as a means to keep their children indoors after dark: "Don't go down by the river, La Llorona will get you."

Now, from beyond the grave, in addition to her child-frightening duties, La Llorona is selling milk.

The latest in the series of "Got Milk?" spots shows La Llorona weeping and wandering through a darkened house, where a man lies sleeping, a book called THE LEGEND OF LA LLORONA on his chest (to clarify events for us non-Latinos in the viewing audience, I guess). She picks up a pastry and goes to the refrigerator, where she sees a carton of milk. She murmurs in delight, "Leche!"

But, of course, the carton is empty-- the cartons are always empty in "Got Milk?" commercials. She begins to wail again, and slams the refrigerator door in our viewing faces.

According to the "Got Milk?" web site, "La Llorona is the first-ever Got Milk? TV ad to target bicultural Latino teens."

Well, I guess bicultural Latino teens need their milk too-- at least those of them who are not lactose intolerant. But even with tongue stuck firmly in cheek, I don't exactly see how an ad featuring a child-murdering phantom is going to move product.

But then again, I'm no marketing expert. Maybe the way to capture those coveted niche is to woo them with monsters. We might see Medusa, for instance, in her lair, enjoying a tasty snack of petrified Greeks, when she discovers she's out of milk. She becomes so upset, she picks up a mirror and turns herself into stone. Or the Sphinx, waylaying a traveler with the riddle, "Got Milk?"

But then again, these are creatures from Greek myths. I don't know how good a market for milk Greeks are, unless it's goat's milk. Cow milk and baclava sounds like a lethal combination to me.

If you really want to target a niche market, me, for example, you might want to try terrorizing me with figures from real life-- telemarketers, say.

Frankly, if I get a phone call during dinnertime, I'd rather be begged for milk than cash. Besides, I don't have cash, but I do happen to have a half gallon of two per cent in the fridge, expiration date December 28, 2001. Give me a call, it's yours.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
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07/26/01: The Bride of Science
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07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales