By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text

SURVIVORS or rat-eating, bug-munching, back-stabbers.

Yuk!   Yuk!

They've eaten rats. They've eaten bugs. America's new anti-heros have plotted against each other on prime time TV during the summer of 2000 as they whittled their number down to four "survivors."

Hatred. The worst examples of human behavior. Kill or be killed mentality. What better celebrities could the dairy industry have chosen for their milk ad campaign? The final four have been forever immortalized by the latest in a long series of milk mustache ads.


Rasputin-like conniving corporate trainer Richard Hatch, 39, of Rhode Island who paraded naked on the island and has been arrested and charged with child abuse; grumpy Rudy Boesch, 72, an ex-Navy SEAL from Virginia who showed contempt for Rich's homosexuality; wishy-washy Kelly Wiglesworth, 23, the river guide from Nevada who used stolen credit cards and bit off part of her ex-husband's nose; and truck-driving Susan Hawk, 38, the Wisconsin whiner who showed up to the audition of SURVIVOR with nude photos of herself. What wonderful role models!

Left on an island with just their clothes, a few basic tools, and rice, sixteen "survivors" provided entertainment for millions of television viewers as their personalities and psyches were ripped open each week to be shared with those of us willing to put up with the absolute worst in human behavior.


One man was voted off the show because of his religious beliefs. Another, an African-American, suggested that there were racial overtones to his demise. Each week an individual was rejected because of flaws in his or her basic personality. Ultimately, there were four left, and millions of viewers debated not who was the best of the four, but who was the worst. The worst of human behavior. Survivors plotting to destroy each other.

During the course of the show, rewards were offered to contest winners. One night, a slice of pizza was the prize, and it was won by the African-American male. Rather than eat the slice himself, he shared a bite with each remaining survivor. Altruism? Not at all. This unselfish act was pure survival. After all, ninety-five percent of African-Americans cannot tolerate lactose. Who needs gas, bloating, and constipation while stuck on a tropical island? His reward for sharing? Voted off!

GOT beer? The reward for another day's competition was an ice cold bottle of beer and a night off the island drinking ice cold drinks. Did the lucky survivor go to a milk bar? No way. More beer! (Shameless corporate plug for Budweiser Light!)

Imagine milk and dairy products on a tropical island. Had the survivors been left with a few gallons of milk there would have been no hit series. Ten minutes into the show there would have been such bacterial growth and Medivac helicopters? The survivors were left with one food staple, rice. They could have been left with Parmalat milk (in sealed containers) but the producers recognized that there was no dietary need for dairy products.

Even sponsors got into the spirit of the show. On August 16th, the CBS network ran a REEBOK commercial in which two bow-hunting men shot a small dog, killing the animal. The hunters then threw the canine's impaled body into a tree. Entertainment? Perhaps this was the moment that inspired milk processors to design an ad based upon this hit series.

Did anybody return home with bone disease? Did anybody miss their milk? Twenty-five thou$and dollar$ is the going rate for a milk ad. Now that the show is over, $URVIVOR$ will $ay anything, and endor$e any product, when the money is on the table. Most of the survivors now have agents, and the milk mustache ad is their introduction to the millions of commercial dollars awaiting their endorsements.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director
Dairy Education Board