Aubrey Plaza’s Promotional Push for Big Milk Has Turned Completely Sour

Aubrey Plaza’s Promotional Push for Big Milk Has Turned Completely Sour

In Aubrey Plaza’s defense, you cannot, in fact, get milk from wood — except in a dirty joke.

The Parks and Recreation and White Lotus star recently appeared in a series of bizarre, satirical advertisements funded by the Department of Agriculture to promote cow milk — or “milk” as it was once called — in defiance of the burgeoning market for white, viscous, protein-filled liquids that are neither dirty nor dairy. The commercial for “wood milk” is a part of the Got Milk? campaign, which, yes, still exists, and, yes, still wants parents to think that their kids’ bones will shatter like an exploding star if they don’t guzzle a gallon of whole milk every day.

Though Plaza’s advertisement doesn’t claim that consuming cow-sourced calcium fluid will turn children into super-soldiers the way the commercials of the 1990s and early 2000s once suggested, the videos did bring back the iconic white mustache while making digs at the various plant-based alternatives that don the title “milk.” Now, the vegans are going to war.

Last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit animal liberation research and advocacy organization that promotes plant-based diets and alternatives to animal testing in medicine, filed a complaint to the USDA Office of Inspector General over the Plaza-partnered ad campaign’s alleged violation of two policies for USDA-funded advertisements.

The complaint claims that the “Wood Milk” marketing scheme violates a federal law against USDA-backed ads disparaging other agricultural products, as well as a statute that prevents the publicly funded advertisements from influencing government action or policy decisions. The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a set of guidelines that would limit plant-based “milk” makers’ ability to pass off oat juice or almond liquids as milk without clarifying the material differences on the label.

While the dictionary definition of “milk” clearly establishes mammalian origin, the popularity of plant-based alternatives has skyrocketed in recent years as the lactose lobby’s decades-long astroturfing campaign wore off and the public realized that maybe their IBS would be less hellish if half their diet didn’t fill their colon with curds. The semantic differences between “oat milk” and “oat milk-substitute” might seem small, but the PCRM’s claim that the campaign’s organizers are using April Ludgate to attack Big Milk’s competition on the taxpayer’s dime shouldn’t simply be skimmed over.

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