'Got Milk?' Ads Take on Steroids Controversy

One of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time veered off in an edgy new direction this week. The new "Got Milk?" advertisements spoof major league baseball's steroid abuse scandal. The commercials are already airing in California during the baseball playoff games, but not everyone is laughing.

In the commercial, an actor portraying a news anchor says, "Homerun hitter Dave Laden was pulled from last night's lineup after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The substance -- said to help rebuild muscles and maintain bone strength -- was found in the hitter's locker before game time."

"I don't know how that got in there," replies the player.

But the "substance" turns out to be milk, not steroids.

"Satire's always dangerous," said Steve James, chairman of the California Milk Processor Board, which paid for the ads. "It's always on the edge. You're always risking offending people or people not getting it. But when satire works -- and I think this works -- you get people's attention."

The board wants to attract attention because milk consumption is down. The government says more than three-quarters of U.S. children aren't getting enough calcium.

But some say the new ads are not good for children at all.

"There is nothing humorous about steroid abuse," said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for business. "I would think that the California Milk Processor Board and their advertising agency would know better regarding an issue that threatens America's youth."

Two years ago, 17-year-old Taylor Hooton killed himself, his family believes, because of depression brought about after he stopped using steroids.

While James says he recognizes the seriousness of the subject matter, he's not afraid of criticism.

"If we spark one dinner table conversation with parents and children about the nature of doing something good for their body using milk, then we've done something positive," he said.

If the controversy brings more attention to what he calls "nature's performance-enhancing substance," James says he couldn't be happier.

ABC News' Dan Harris filed this report for "World News Tonight."