‘Got Milk?’ and content: Learn from the milk mustache campaign

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Editor’s note: This story is taken from Ragan’s new distance-learning portal RaganTraining.com. The site contains more than 200 hours of case studies, video presentations, and interactive courses. Click here for more on this session.

Frustrated with your content strategy? Don’t have a cow.

The “Got Milk?” campaign offers lessons in milking fan blogs, partner organizations, and your own work to produce buckets full of content for consumers to share.

Two pros describe the iconic campaign in a Ragan Training session titled, “Got content? How content fuels conversation-from the people behind the ‘milk mustache’ campaign.”

Representatives from Weber Shandwick and the dairy industry group MilkPEP discuss the components that made their National Milk Mustache “Got Milk?” campaign a success: Create and curate content that is interesting, funny, shareable, and useful.

(The session is the subscribers’ favorite among hundreds of hours of video on the Ragan Training website, says content manager Brian Malone.)

Victor Zaborsky, marketing director for the milk mustache campaign joins Weber Shandwick Executive Vice President Jaye Hilton in telling why the campaign has succeeded in getting consumers to guzzle more bovine lactation.

Whether it’s sharing a blogger mom’s fruit and milk recipes or promoting an eat-your-breakfast segment of “The Doctors,” the campaign has succeeded in getting content in front of pajama-clad people as they open the fridge in the morning.

“It’s so important to think of ourselves as a content curator,” Zaborsky says.

Get them early in the day

Milk in particular lends itself to content-based promotion hitched to social media. There are 200 million social media users in the U.S., Hilton says, and almost 50 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds check in with Facebook first thing every day.

What better time to nail them with a plug for the lip-whitening drink than when they stagger from bed clutching a smartphone? But your content has to be smart.

“Ultimately, consumers have control,” Hilton says. “They’re in charge of those screens. They turn things off. They change the channel. They download what they want to download.”

This video clip is taken from the Ragan Training session, “Got content? How content fuels conversation-from the people behind the ‘milk mustache’ campaign.”

To succeed, you have a chance to add value to people’s lives, and show what you can do for them, she says.

Milk producers have an opportunity, since it is promoting a health theme: Eating breakfast makes you less likely to gain weight. Plus, 40 percent of U.S. consumption of the liquid cow product happens around the morning table.

By focusing on the familiar categories of paid, earned, and owned, it can engage audiences and boost consumption of its product. That means the campaign still pitches the mainstream media and creates content for its own website.

Social media in particular is the new newsstand, and brands are now publishers, Hilton says. Some mid-list celebrities have more followers than The Miami Herald has subscribers.

Zaborsky adds, “They give us an incredible amount of reach beyond what even our own channels reach.”

Pushing and creative advocates

Often the best thing to share is the work of your advocates, Zaborsky says. One video made by a mom from a dairy family offers a recipe for pureed fruit and milk you can freeze in fish or heart shapes and float in children’s milk. The mom is a contributor to the Prudent Baby blog, which has 850,000 monthly views.

“It’s very authentic, real content,” Zaborsky says. “It’s coming from a mom, talking about thinking that are important to a mom. But then because she is an influential blogger, she also has tremendous reach.”

MilkPEP also worked with Zoopa, where brands create competitions and award prizes for the best ads, such as one where some young college-age dudes start playing a beat with their spoons at breakfast time. “Got Milk?” gets access to all 200 of the submitted videos in perpetuity, and the variety allows it to target them for holidays such as Father’s Day and Halloween, Zaborsky says.

[RELATED: Ragan’s new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]

The campaign also shares content by leveraging third-party media. It helps when two physicians on the TV show “The Doctors” plug your product, but MilkPEP makes sure that reaches a wider audience.

In one segment that Zaborsky shows in his session, one of doctors says he pushes the idea of breakfast because it improves concentration and “gives you a great head start to the day.” He specifically touts milk, making it a no-brainer to promote this segment.

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