‘Dirty sellout’: Fans axe Aubrey Plaza after ‘wood milk’ ad

Audrey Plaza's trademark deadpan humour hasn't saved her from backlash

Source: YouTube/Wood Milk

Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan sarcasm may have made her famous, but some fans have turned on her after the actor’s attempt to use her trademark sense of humour to spruik dairy.

Plaza, well known for her roles in Parks and Recreation and The White Lotus, pulled out her comedic chops while starring in a recent advertisement for ‘wood milk’.

“Got wood?” Plaza asks the audience, sporting a chunky wood milk moustache.

After showing Plaza’s face being showered in wood chips and explaining how wood is “squished into a slime that’s legal to sell”, the advert wraps up by revealing itself to be a tongue-in-cheek jab at the rising popularity of plant-based milks.

“Is wood milk real? Absolutely not. Only real milk is real,” Plaza said.

The advertisement was produced by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) as part of Got Milk? – a long-running US marketing campaign to boost sales of milk and dairy products.

There is even a website to advertise wood milk and sell branded shirts.

Social media storm

Plaza faced a swift backlash for promoting dairy and disparaging plant-based alternatives, with social media users claiming to feel “betrayed” and labelling Plaza a “sellout”.

The actor has turned off the comments for her Instagram post featuring the ad, and has been branded the latest face of the ‘Milk Wars’, an effort from ‘Big Milk’ to get the younger generation consuming more dairy.

This comes after fellow actor Emma Roberts sparked backlash for posting an advertisement for milk on her Instagram – the comments on the post are also switched off.

“Aubrey Plaza did a Got Milk campaign making fun of alternative milks. she’s pro dairy milk. this is the worst day of my life,” one Twitter user wrote.

“For real I can’t tell if the milk lobby is worse for making milk or for making Aubrey Plaza sound like your old uncle who never left your hometown and calls you queer for moving to a marginally bigger city at Thanksgiving,” another wrote.

But some have come to Plaza’s defence, with one Twitter user observing Plaza’s faux wood milk campaign “is better than anything [Saturday Night Live] has done in years”.

“Wait what’s the problem with milk? People are mad at Aubrey Plaza over milk? Huh?” another person tweeted.

What’s the fuss?

The Got Milk? campaign, created in 1993 for the California Milk Processor Board, is famous for featuring spokespeople wearing milk moustaches and claiming the benefits of drinking multiple glasses of milk a day include strengthening bones.

In recent years, the campaign has come under scrutiny for encouraging heavy consumption of dairy, especially with up to 50 million Americans reported to be lactose intolerant and concerns for the environment and animal welfare growing.

Big Milk's spruiking of dairy milk's health benefits hasn't been subtle. 

With more plant-based alternatives, such as almond milk and oat milk, popping up, the dairy industry is losing some of its sway.

In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported consumption of unflavoured dairy milk substitutes increased more than 14 per cent during 2020-21, while consumption of dairy milk declined -1.7 per cent.

The latest efforts of the dairy industry to reach younger consumers comes after MilkPEP CEO Yin Woon Rani told The New York Times the organisation is trying to “reclaim milk’s mojo”.

“We sometimes refer to milk as the OG sports drink, powering athletes for 10,000 years,” Ms Rani said.

Topics: Social Media
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