It must be milk

Milk is a commodity. There’s variations like trim, calcium-enriched, flavoured or organic but overall it’s pretty standard. It’s also competing against much cheaper options like Coca-Cola with large brand advertising budgets. This has necessitated some interesting advertising approaches by milk producers, proving that creativity is often enhanced by constraints.

“Got milk?” is an iconic advertising campaigns. Created for the California Milk Processor Board in 1993 it was later licensed for wider use throughout the USA. It ran until 2014 featuring an impressive line up of celebrities donning milk moustaches. The campaign is considered the benchmark for commodity brand advertising. Here’s a few of my favourites (it was hard to choose!)…

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In 2014, the “Got milk?” campaign was replaced with “Milk life” which swapped celebrities with a focus on the nutritional benefits of milk.

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In New Zealand, Anchor has followed suit with “Must be milk”. The campaign has three main messages – how milk improves hair, muscles and teeth. Although driven by the nutritional benefits the approach reminds me more of  “Got milk”. There’s a glamour that has been added to milk that elevates this above the “Milk life” campaign for me. This is particularly obvious in the TVC for muscles which combines high end film with impressive slow motion footage of an athletic dancer. I particularly like the positioning of milk as a sports drink!

Another surprising twist comes from the “Hair” TVC which leads you to think it is a shampoo ad until the last moment.

The final ad in the campaign introduces the benefits of milk for younger drinkers. This seems like a slight departure from the previous two ads but still manages to feel connected to the wider campaign.

While I’ve seen the “Hair” and “Muscles” executions in outdoor media before, it was a bus shelter for the “Teeth” story caught my eye tonight and lead to this post.

Each story is supported online with behind the scenes footage and nutritionist advice on milk’s role in muscle building, hair condition and healthy teeth. It’s interesting to note that while the ads appear to be targeted at children and youth, the website is targeted towards the likely household shopper, mothers. The behind the scenes clips all feature the actors with their mothers.

“These stories continue off screen and are a perfect example of how the right attitude, and the right nutrition can be instrumental in reaching your goals. They also let us see into Mum’s world as she lets go in order to let her child succeed. It makes for some emotional moments.” ~ Allison Yorston, group marketing manager at Anchor (Campaign Brief)

Out of the three campaigns for milk which is your favourite?

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