The fall in consumption of milk
Dairy has been a staple diet in human history for centuries. And milk was the prominent one, often valued as nutritious and essential for body growth and sustenance.
Then came the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, in the 1960s, and soft drinks became a cultural phenomenon. And the aggressive marketing campaigns of sodas, by these companies, emphasizing youth and trendy lifestyle, meant people started drifting away from milk. Soft drinks took over not only social occasions but also regular consumption at home. Milk consumption was primarily limited to kids and it wasn’t even regular. Or it became a supplement for other foods like cereal.
Marketing that went nowhere
In the next 2 decades, milk processing firms tried the usual marketing way – emphasizing how the product benefits the consumer. The ” Milk Does Body Good ” campaign highlighted how milk provides the human body with the required calcium and other proteins. Even though the awareness was there, people just didn’t consume.
How Got Milk? campaign revitalized it
Then came the marketing campaign Got Milk? created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, for the California Milk Processor Board. This campaign featured ads that were the complete opposite of all previous ones, and employed deprivation marketing.
So what is deprivation marketing
Deprivation marketing, to put it simply, emphasizes the negatives you would face if you don’t have that product. So instead of marketing the benefits of milk, they marketed the negative effects of not drinking milk
How & Why of the campaign
The ads primarily ran on TV, across California initially were around 80% of the population came into contact with it. And they were subsequently aired across the US. There are about 80 ads, all centered around the common theme of running out of milk in a crunch situation. And they all ended with an iconic catchphrase – Got Milk? This turned a generic perishable product, with no branding or identity, into a proper brand.
And it didn’t stop there. Other brands jumped on the hype train. Mattel, Oreo, and even the tv show, Sesame Street promoted it, alongside multiple apparel, and kitchenware brands.
The milk mustache twirl
In 1995, the National Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), licensed the slogan for nationwide print ads featuring celebrities, and fictional characters from TV, movies, and other media. All of them featured a milk mustache with the slogans – Got Milk? and Where’s your mustache? This reached a wider audience and around 90% awareness in the US.
The campaign was discontinued in 2014 but was revived in 2020, owing to an increase in milk consumption during the pandemic. It still remains one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time, that too for an unlikely product like milk.