WASHINGTON, May 15, 2017 – It’s not just about milk any more. The dairy industry is launching a multiyear campaign to persuade consumers of the goodness of all types of dairy products, including yogurt, cheese, whey, ice cream, and, of course, milk.
“Undeniably Dairy” will employ popular social media applications such as Snapchat, television and the internet to trumpet the value of dairy products to consumers, at a time when milk consumption is falling, in part because of competition from non-dairy products.
“Despite dairy farms being in all 50 states and most of us living within 100 miles of a dairy farm, many people have never set foot on a farm,” said Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer at Dairy Management Inc., in a news release on the campaign. “This campaign is unprecedented in that it unifies a vast and diverse dairy industry and array of dairy products behind a single platform.”
Dairy Management represents nearly 42,000 dairy farmers and importers in the U.S. The campaign has been developed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in partnership with America's Dairy Farm Families and Importers. The Innovation Center’s board of directors includes 29 chairpersons and CEO’s of cooperatives, food companies and dairy associations.
The Innovation Center, initiated in 2008 through the dairy checkoff, released online videos today as a preview of the campaign, which really gets rolling in June. It includes a new logo (see above), promotional spots that will air on social media and television, and on-farm events across the nation, “transparently opening up farms and inviting consumers to come in,” Engelmann said today in a teleconference with reporters.
“It’s time to open those barn doors,” said Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber Horn-Leiterman, who related a story about how her father was persuaded to become more transparent when a visitor to her dairy farm was worried about a cow biting him.
“I can’t believe he thought a cow was going to bite off his arm,” her father said of the man, who only lives about 20 miles away.
The campaign will include an on-air and digital marketing campaign with The Food Network and Cooking Channel in June to celebrate National Dairy Month, including a 60-second farm-to-table ad in June that shows how farmers care for their cows and the land they farm. The campaign also will feature “moo memes” with photos submitted by dairy farmers.
The effort comes at a crucial time for the dairy industry, which has seen per capita milk consumption drop from 205 pounds in 2005 to 155 pounds in 2015, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Part of the reason for that is competition from other fluid products that do not naturally contain the nutrients in milk, which include Vitamin D and calcium. “We need to let consumers know and understand (milk’s) rich nutrient package,” said Barb O’Brien, president of Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
In addition to nutrition, the campaign will highlight responsible animal care so the industry can relate what it says is a positive story, Engelmann said.
The campaign aims to “proactively provide the context for a consumer to understand that farmers are doing good work,” O'Brien said. Engelmann noted that 98 percent of the milk supply by volume is enrolled in the FARM program, created by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in 2009 to promote responsible animal care and environmental stewardship.
Compared with 70 years ago, dairy farmers today use 65 percent less water and 63 percent less carbon per gallon of milk produced, the Innovation Center said in announcing the campaign. An official with Dairy Management said the cost of the campaign was not available.
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