'Wood Milk' has taken the internet by storm since its official launch in April this year.
Co-founded by American actress Aubrey Plaza, Wood Milk is advertised as being 100% fake but has its own website, social media channels and detailed story.
So what is really going on here?
Despite an elaborate and convincing website detailing the story behind the brand, why wood milk is so great and a highly produced visual advertising portfolio, a disclaimer on the website's landing page clearly states that wood milk actually has no nutritional benefits (surprise, surprise) and is not a real product at all.
'Wood Milk is 100% fake. And as you know, fake things can't be nutritious…because they're fake."
So it's just a case of someone with a bit of money and a sensitive funny bone, wanting to have some fun in the digital world then? At first glance that would seem to be the most logical explanation, but further digging only seems to provide more questions than answers.
On the 'Shop' page of the website, t-shirts are available to buy for US$20 (NZ$32.20) and apparently contribute to the planting of 10,000 new trees 'thanks to Wood Milk'.
A disclaimer in the footer of the page reads, "Our eco-friendly shirts are legit and we will be planting real trees in the ground, but please be advised that Wood Milk is 100% fake and completely made up. Only dairy milk is real milk. Paid for by America's Milk Companies."
America's Milk Companies takes you to the 'Gonna Need Milk' website, a campaign launched by American company MilkPEP (Milk Processor Education Program) in 2021 to promote the nutritional benefits of dairy milk through sports.
MilkPEP is governed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture, and offer research and insights, national marketing programs and processor programs, resources and guidance to milk processors across America.
So, while Wood Milk is just an elaborate marketing campaign to promote the health benefits of dairy milk, 'Wood Milk's' campaign to plant 10,000 trees is 100% real.
I think it's safe to say that wood milk poses no threat to New Zealand's thriving dairy industry…for now at least.