Katie Ledecky was an amazing human being long before she decided to swim the length of an Olympic-sized pool with a glass of chocolate milk perfectly balanced on top of her head. She’s 23 years old and has won five Olympic gold medals, including one at the 2012 London Olympic Games when she was just 15. She’s won more world championship gold medals than any female swimmer in history. But now, to reiterate, Ledecky has achieved the distinction of swimming the length of an Olympic-sized pool with a glass of chocolate milk perfectly balanced on top of her head. And it’s positively hypnotic to watch.
(H/t to The Atlantic’s Peter Baugh, who shared the video on Twitter even before Ledecky herself.) The feat, which Ledecky posted today to her Instagram page, is a sponsored post for the “Got Milk?” campaign—yes, that Got Milk campaign! Many of you might remember Got Milk’s massively successful print ads from the 1990s and early 2000s featuring celebrities sporting milk mustaches (weirdly thick milk mustaches, to combat with studio lights) to raise awareness about osteoporosis and boost U.S. milk consumption. For a great read on the history of Got Milk, check out this Fast Company article published on the campaign’s 25th anniversary in 2018.
Today, for the first time since 2014, Got Milk? has returned, but in a whole new way. As explained by CNN, the campaign is building buzz on TikTok rather than the ancient form of media known as magazine ads, and it’s relying on social influencers to create content for the #GotMilkChallenge hashtag. Ledecky is the face of the new campaign, but it’s inviting millions of others to join in with their own performative milk shenanigans.
Here’s how to participate, according to the Got Milk? TikTok page:
Step 1: Pour a glass of milk.
Step 2: Do something AMAZING—and don’t spill!
Step 3: Sip to prove you still “got milk.”
The “do something amazing” directive is later clarified: “From soccer tricks to hula hooping to – who knows? The possibilities are endless. So, what are you waiting for? Show us what you got. #GotMilkChallenge.” It’s a clever way to get wannabe viral TikTok celebrities to throw their hat into the ring, maybe with a glass of milk balanced on top of it.
Many of the #GotMilkChallenge posts so far have been really impressive, others less so—but none so jaw-dropping as Ledecky’s smooth-as-glass procession through the pool, without a single drop of milk wasted.
What was your favorite Got Milk ad of yore?