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I'm familiar with the phrase from a US advertising campaign some years ago. It was used to promote consumption of "cow juice" when it was getting a bad press because of its fat content. Later the phrase was adapted in "gotta have park, " a campaign to get local support of a particular park in NYC. I'd like to know the derivation of the phrase, assuming it predates the milk campaign.

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What makes milk different than many other products being sold is that there are no nationally recognized brands, such as Apple is a recognized brand of hardware and software, but apples are a fruit with no such distinction. You don't know who owns the orchard where the fruit originated. Since individual farmers can't compete against say Coke for your attention, a collective of dairy farmers came together to promote their products and interests. Judging by this post, the campaign has had its impact. –  James Fleming Sep 1 '12 at 14:11
    
There is at least one nationally-recognised milk brand: Dairy Crest. –  Andrew Leach Sep 1 '12 at 14:43
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Dairy Crest? Never heard of it. All comments about national brands should be qualified with the name of the nation. –  MετάEd Sep 1 '12 at 20:16
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closed as too localized by tenfour, FumbleFingers, kiamlaluno, Mahnax, tchrist Sep 9 '12 at 23:07

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Are you sure you're not thinking of the "Got Milk?" ad campaign? Either way, it's just a catchphrase. Let's not forget "Gotta Have My Pops" either.

People were putting these words together in normal sentences as part of everyday communication long before the ad campaigns. The creators of these campaigns simply wanted something short and catchy and came up with the phrases.

Edit: It appears that the "Gotta Have Park" theme is based on a Broadway show tune:

Actually, the song was "You Gotta Have Heart," from the Broadway musical Damn Yankees. It referred to the lowly Washington Senators, who went on to beat the New York Yankees with the help of the devil. Whatever.

Once again, it's just something people say in everyday speech.

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The Scottish Milk Marketing Board used the slogan "Gotta Have Milk" in the late 1980s (apparently). –  Andrew Leach Sep 1 '12 at 14:21
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