Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on May 12th 2008 4:00PM by David Chiu
But White Gold isn't an actual rock star though he sure plays like one with his macho singing and moves. He is the campy invention of the real-life advertising firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as part of the California Milk Processor Board's campaign to get younger people drinking more milk.
"I think we were tossing around ideas, [and] the phrase 'white gold' had been thrown around just as a neat name for milk," Goodby, Silverstein's Paul Charney, who, with Andrew Bancroft and Bryan Houlette, developed the campaign, tells Spinner. "What if there was a guy named White Gold who wanted to spread the word of milk through the power of song?"
The creative team drew inspiration from the movies 'This Is Spinal Tap' and 'Zoolander' in shaping the character. The presentation is as over-the-top as the music. In the video for 'One Gallon Axe,' White Gold levitates while playing his dairy-powered guitar; and in the 'Tame the White Tiger' video, he submerges into a river of milk.
"We wanted to create this guy who embodies the benefits of milk in a funny way," Charney says. "The idea that rock musicians has this beautiful flowing hair, this smile, this Axl Rose-body -- they got all this from milk."
White Gold extends his presence not only in TV spots but also with his web site, MySpace page, YouTube channel and Facebook profile. A five-song EP of White Gold and the Calcium Twins' music, 'The Best I Can Give is 2%,' is available on iTunes. For the songs, the ad agency enlisted singer Dick Valentine and guitarist the Colonel, of Detroit rock band Electric Six, to work on the music to go along with Bancroft's lyrics.
"I've always had a soft spot for the 'Got Milk?' campaign, so yes I was all for it from the start," Valentine tells Spinner. "From the onset, I saw this as an opportunity to do this myself, outside of the band. I think the whole campaign was done really well."
Along with the 2,948 friends he has on MySpace, White Gold has a big fan in Steve James, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board. "We're very happy with it," he says of the campaign. "It speaks to our demographic who are, to a pretty alarming extent, turning away from milk and towards more, we think, unhealthy choices."
So long as they can help turn young people onto the vitamin D-rich drink, White Gold and the Calcium Twins look to be an unstoppable musical force, something that both James and Goodby, Silverstein are looking to milk further. "Everything is on the table," James says. "We looked at all the marketing spin-offs that can be associated with this."
When asked if White Gold reminded him of anyone famous in rock 'n' roll, Electric Six's Valentine makes a reference to the clueless bassist from Spinal Tap: "Perhaps an albino Derek Smalls."