Canada’s dairy industry is milking childhood nostalgia for all it’s worth.
“Milk Every Moment” is the first campaign from the Strategic Milk Alliance, a joint venture of the BC Dairy Association, Alberta Milk, SaskMilk, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. Created by the Alliance’s AOR, DDB Canada, the campaign features a series of spots broadcast on TV, online and in theatres, as well as a website, a photo contest, and coordinated campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The commercials are a montage of preschoolers acting silly—sticking a sandwich in a VCR or trying to wear dish gloves as socks—followed by the tagline, “Not everything we did when were kids made sense, but drinking milk did, and it still does.”
In the accompanying “Milk Your Childhood” contest, milk-lovers can submit photos and videos of themselves doing something senseless as kids, for a chance to win a Polaroid digital camera or Nikon DSLR.
DDB’s executive creative director in Vancouver, Dean Lee, said milk consumption falls off in adolescence and adulthood, and so dairy advertisers have traditionally focused marketing efforts on winning back that market. But the new campaign targets new parents, who are just starting to buy milk again for their kids.
DDB’s research found that lots of parents associate milk with fond childhood memories—Lee said some interviewees even developed cravings after reminiscing about having milk and cookies as kids. But the agency’s more surprising finding was that nostalgia for milk resonated with teens and young adult viewers as well. Lee said thanks to social media, young consumers have become more comfortable sharing photos of themselves as kids and reminiscing about their childhood, even if their childhood wasn’t that long ago.
Not everyone thinks drinking milk makes sense, though. The dairy industry has had its share of controversies, and Milk Every Moment’s social media profiles have given animal rights advocates an opportunity to attack milk where it lives. Searching #MilkEveryMoment on Twitter turns up comments claiming milk contains Bovine Growth Hormone (illegal in Canada) or linking to animal cruelty videos; one post on Facebook hosts a flame war 270-comments long between dairy’s detractors and defenders, with hundreds of likes on both sides.
The negative interactions put DDB in a tough spot—deleting comments can seem heavy-handed and inauthentic (not to mention time-consuming), but too much of the wrong kind of engagement risks damage to the client’s brand.
Marty Yaskowich, managing director for Tribal Vancouver and digital lead for the campaign, said his team prepared several responses to common misconceptions about milk, and they encourage users to be respectful, but in general they prefer to rely on milk’s sizable fanbase to shift engagement in a more positive direction.
“We know milk lovers are very passionate about the product and have seen them advocate on milk’s behalf, responding organically to the comments that they disagree with,” he wrote in an email.
Lee said in his experience with similar campaigns, the vocal minority of detractors tends to be most active at the beginning of a campaign, but lose interest once it starts building steam.
“We’re confident they’ll be overpowered by more positive sentiment,” he said.