The ads are by London photographer Jaroslay Wieczorkiewicz, and feature women clothed in dripping milk. One mimics Marilyn Monroe's famous pose from the "Seven Year Itch," and another sticks her rear end out while she stands on top of a scale. The slogans "Drink what she's wearing" and "Milk looks good on you," accompany the naked women.
"We knew that our Fairlife purely nutritious milk was going to be a game changer in the milk category and we believed that our unique milk deserved an equally unique marketing campaign when we tested the product six months ago in Denver and Minneapolis," wrote Fairlife on its website. "His [Wieczorkiewicz] Milky Pin-Ups collection turns real milk into high fashion to recreate the classic mid-20th century pin-ups of American artists like Gil Elvgren (1914-1980)."
The ads didn't have quite the effect the company was hoping for and sparked a storm of angry Tweets, with people calling the ads sexist and offensive.
"I was unlikely to buy @CocaCola's new milk, but I'm definitely #NotBuyingIt with these ads," Tweeted Rachael, aka @r343l.
"@CocaCola is selling milk, which is offensive in of itself, but take a look at their offensive ads," Tweeted Natalie Prosin.
Twitter user AJ Kauffman wasn't as disturbed.
"I don't know why everyone is complaining about @CocaCola's milk ad," Tweeted Kauffman. "It was a throwback to memories of old pin-up ads #notsexist #history."
Fairlife is aware of the backlash, and doesn't plan on using the ads going forward.
Looks like the company will have to find another way to advertise claims that the milk has 50% more protein and calcium than regular milk, and half the sugar. It's also lactose-free.
Fairlife says it uses a cold filtration system to "concentrate the good stuff like protein and calcium and filter out the fat and sugars." On the company's website, it claims it filters the milk into water, butterfat, protein, vitamins, minerals and lactose then recombines them in different proportions.
"It's basically the premiumisation of milk," Sandy Douglas, Coca-Cola North American SVP, global chief customer officer and president, said at a conference earlier this year. "Our ambition there is to create the Simply of milk."