Milk Equals Life

06:21PM May 30, 2014
Milk LIfe
( Graphics: MilkPEP; Illustrations: Lori Hays )

New fluid milk ads re-energize consumer campaign

Marketing milk to consumers has been increasingly difficult in the past few decades. There are more flavored beverages available, and today’s on-the-go society hasn’t placed an importance on sitting down in the morning for a glass of milk at breakfast.

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) knew the time was right to make milk cool again when the group began researching what was happening to milk consumption 21⁄2 years ago. During that initial research and in the years to come, MilkPEP looked for messaging that would resonate to customers who would ultimately change their consumption behavior.

"We tested 30 different messages with them. The messages that rose to the top were about milk being a good source of high-quality protein and this sort of more emotional idea that milk can power your potential," says Victor Zaborsky, marketing director at MilkPEP.

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From those research findings, the message "Milk Life" was chosen. The theme offers a double meaning in that consumers can milk the most out of their life by drinking milk, while also living a Milk Life by being healthy and active.

"Milk is in most people’s refrigerators but we had to make sure that people wanted to reach in and grab that milk," Zaborsky adds.

Milk Life is a more visually focused promotion than the popular "got milk?" campaign which came to an end nationally on Feb. 24, as the new advertisements were officially launched. The "got milk?" campaign will continue being used by the California Milk Processor Board, however, for exclusive promotion of dairy in that state.

Instead of using celebrities sporting Milk Mustaches, the updated print, broadcast and digital Milk Life campaign shows ordinary people becoming extraordinary thanks to the power of milk.

"We believe it truly connects that milk powers your potential," Zaborsky explains. "These visuals really connect the idea that starting your day with the protein in milk helps give you that extra boost you need to make sure you are living your life to the fullest."

In one advertisement a girl playing the guitar in a rock band can be seen living life to the fullest thanks to the milk she drinks each day.

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The re-energized Milk Life campaign taglines point out that 8 g. of protein can be found in every 8 oz. of milk.

Another commercial features a mom running after her little boy with propellers on their backs, boosting forward because they started their day with a glass of milk at breakfast.

The "got milk?" and Milk Mustache campaigns didn’t have the same kind of flexibility that Milk Life offers. New advertisements have been featured in three different formats: broadcast television, print and digitally on the Internet.

"Consumers are sort of surrounded with the images and the messages from the campaign so it is very tied together," says Julia Kadison, interim CEO at MilkPEP. In the past, TV milk commmercials used well-known celebrities but rarely featured the milk mustache.

"So our print campaign was very different from our television campaign. We believe that uniting
everything under a common visual and message will be more powerful for us in the future," Kadison says.

The Milk Mustache still has tremendous value to consumers; however, it doesn’t speak to their needs.

"We want to make sure that milk is relatable, relevant and meaningful to Americans," Kadison adds.

The Milk Life campaign will be focusing on milk’s high-quality protein with taglines pointing out that 8 g. of protein can be found in every 8 oz. consumed. In the future, potassium, calcium and vitamin D could also be featured, which happen to be three of the four nutrients Americans are most likely to be lacking in their diets.

MilkPEP has been pleased with the response thus far from consumers and especially mainstream media. The campaign update has been featured in such venues as "Live with Kelly & Michael," CNN and The New York Times. Within the milk processing world, Milk Life has been of interest to many companies who want promotional materials and updated truck art.

"I think people were really interested because of the major shift in the campaign that they had all grown up with," Zaborsky says. "At first there was shock but then there was a really positive response to it."

California keeps "got milk?"

There were a lot of stories from media outlets in the early stages of the rebranding at the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) that "got milk?" was being retired. However, that is far from the case.

The "got milk?" campaign will be going back home to the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), who created the catchy slogan in 1993 with the help of the agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. In 1995 "got milk?" was licensed by MilkPEP for use of the slogan nationally.

MilkPEP’s slogan change to "Milk Life" will have no effect on the work that is done in California, says Steve James, executive director of the CMPB.

"Our work is limited to the state of California and always has been," James explains. "We plan to continue using the trademark that has served us and the industry well for more than 20 years."

The Milk Mustache also will not be a part of CMPB’s continued campaign as that was part of MilkPEP’s national work.

"To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the end of "got milk?" are greatly exaggerated," James adds. "The national milk trade group has decided to move away from its Milk Mustache campaign and develop a new tagline, but "got milk?" and its consumer equity continue to be very much alive in California. We wish them luck, but the fact remains that the California board anticipates using our beloved slogan for many years to come."