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Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Mississauga, Ontario, is touting the benefits of milk in a very bold way. The farmer-owned organization launched a multimedia campaign over a year ago that has really made a splash. The campaign, built around the slogan "Milk Gives," demonstrates that milk offers essential nutrients for a healthy body - inside and out.

"Milk Gives" focuses on the tangible benefits of milk's nutrients and what they do for our bodies, by visually expressing the positive effects of drinking milk. The ads, which display healthy bodies bathed in milk, show consumers that in addition to Calcium, milk contains energy, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Protein, Carbohydrates, Phosphorus, Thiamin, Pantothenate, Zinc and vitamins D, A, B6 and B12.

The bold visuals really get your attention and highlight the external benefits of milk - healthy skin and strong, bright teeth - and internally - strong bones, improved night vision, strong muscles and energy.

"Consumers know that milk is good for them, but we have been working hard to get the message across that milk has much more than calcium to build strong bones," says Roberta Jessup-Ramsay, ad manager for the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. She adds that there is increasing competition from products featuring added calcium for strong bones. But, the campaign is meant to differentiate these products with milk, which has all of the major nutrients to build strong, healthy bodies.


The campaign also focuses on the way consumers feel about milk. The organization has conducted consumer research that shows how people associate milk with trust, purity, giving and nurturing, and link milk with health, energy and stamina, satisfaction and comfort.

"Consumers feel that milk is both physically and emotionally nourishing," says Jessup-Ramsay.

One of the print ads concentrates on the emotional and nurturing qualities that milk conjures in consumers, with visuals of a mother and child being drenched in nutrient-rich milk. The other four ads in the series feature a young adult male or female, and a middle-aged male or female to represent the feelings of health and stamina associated with milk. All of the elements of the campaign - television ads, print ads and outdoor billboards and transit ads - display the numerous nutrients that milk gives to a healthy person by superimposing the various nutrient names and benefits over the photos.

DFO explains that the concept is completely consumer driven. "People found that this reminder of exactly what is in milk, and what it does for your body was very interesting and compelling," says Jessup-Ramsay.

Naturally, there was some reluctance in launching such a unique (and revealing) campaign. "We knew that it was different," says Bob Bishop, general manager and CEO of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. "At first glance, the DFO board said 'Whoa' because the campaign is very different, and there is a bit more skin than usual. But the healthy body message was done in great taste and driven by consumer research."


It is a good thing that the DFO board agreed to launch the campaign, as it has been a tremendous success. Jessup-Ramsay says recall of the DFO ads dropped off in 2000, and one of the main goals of the campaign was to improve awareness of milk.

"In April 2001, the proven recall of the advertisements increased to 70 percent, up from 63 percent in 2000," notes Jessup-Ramsay. "Actually, the numbers on the outdoor and print category were twice the industry norm at 62 percent, which is phenomenal for an outdoor campaign."

Most of the credit for this success must be given to the eye-catching visuals in the campaign. Not only do the ads beg for a second glance, but also they really put milk in the spotlight. "With billboard and transit advertising, you have to create a quick image that really says something," says Jessup-Ramsay. "These are great visuals that say 'That's milk!'"

Another example of the campaign's success is being awarded the 2001 Canadian Agri-Marketing Association Consumer Directed Campaign - Print winner. AM

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