Olsen Twins Nixed From Milk Ads

By Jul 14, 2004

Magazine ads for “got milk?’ starring media moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been retracted indefinitely following a whirlwind of negative media surrounding Mary-Kate’s bout with anorexia and speculation about substance abuse.

Mary-Kate, 18, recently entered a treatment program for what her publicist referred to in news reports as a “health-related issue.”

The MilkPEP Board’s ads featuring the Olsen twins, each with the trademark milk moustache, began running May 7 to coincide with the premiere of their latest movie New York Minute, and were to continue to the end of July. The ads have been withdrawn and there are no plans to reinstate them.

Washington, DC-based MilkPEP released a statement that read in part: “We’ve decided to take this ad out of rotation a little sooner out of sensitivity to her situation. We continue to support Mary-Kate and Ashley and wish them all the best.”

Ashley Olsen subsequently canceled a planned trip to the Australian premiere of New York Minute to be with her sister.

“The pulling of this ad seems to be a smart move only because she’s [Mary-Kate] suffering from an eating disorder and telling people to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Tina Wells, managing partner of Blue Fusion, a youth marketing consultancy, not affiliated with the campaign. “It’s more of a common sense move more than we’re not interested in this brand move.”

When the advertising campaign initially debuted, Mary-Kate said in a statement, “We wanted to appear in this ad because we love the campaign and we want to help make sure our fans are healthy like us.” Lowe, New York City, handles the campaign.

There is no doubt that the Olsen brand has been affected by this media backlash, however according to Wells, “younger children are just beginning to watch reruns of Full House on Nick at Night [which stars the twins]. A new generation of girls are just becoming exposed to them—they are frozen in time.”

Only time will tell if the Olsen twins’ extensive line of beauty products, clothing and videos for kids and tweens will suffer from the negative media attention given to Mary-Kate’s personal problems.