2017 Winners

Milk. Solid stuff.

Les Producteurs de lait du Québec

Bronze Agency of the Year: lg2

The Challenge

Milk consumption in Canada and in most industrialized countries is in steep decline, and Québec is no exception. Consumers tend to see it as a commodity and replace it with beverages they believe are healthier. Compared to soy, rice or almond milk, white milk has lost its value and quality, particularly in terms of nutrition. Moreover, milk suffers from negative noise in the press due to the supply management crisis and myths supported by anti-milk activists.

The situation created a formidable communications challenge: how to bring back milk as a top-of-mind beverage choice for Quebecers, particularly young families. Les Producteurs de lait du Québec (PLQ) needed to renew Quebecers’ interest in milk in order to increase consideration, purchases and consumption frequency.

The marketing objective was to slow the erosion of white milk sales. To achieve this, agency Lg2 focused on reinforcing the perception of white milk as the quality, healthy and nutritious beverage that it truly is.

The Insight

Consumers are increasingly seeking out “super foods” and as such, functional ingredients have become an important trend. The “Solid Stuff” campaign capitalized on that trend, seizing the opportunity to remind families and food-related decision-makers that with 16 nutrients and 10 benefits sourced from a single natural ingredient, milk is a super food.

For the first time in a decade, the brand’s advertising platform switched from being emotion-oriented to conveying a more rational message, presenting nutrition facts and benefits in a more straightforward manner. Milk contributes to stronger muscles, improved night vision and is a good source of protein: that’s impressive or “solid” stuff – only, served in liquid form. And so the “Solid stuff” signature and campaign were born.

The Plan

PLQ needed to educate and demonstrate that milk contains essential nutrients that directly contribute to good health. Inspired by this strategic positioning, the brand’s “Solid stuff” signature was a natural choice. The main message that “a glass of milk contains 16 essential nutrients for optimal functioning of the body” was deployed using an integrated campaign, with a dominating media mix. The first focus was on encouraging current milk drinkers to increase their consumption. These consumers are young families – responsible for 55% of the decline in volume – and adults 18 to 65-years-old who consume milk, but ignore its values. Even if they have a positive opinion of milk, they’re influenced by the myths they’re exposed to, which leads them to replace it with other beverages without really knowing why. Both groups presented opportunities for increases in consumption.

To position white milk as an all-powerful food, the team recruited history-making heroes with beloved personalities and a connection to the province to act as brand ambassadors. The launch campaign celebrates the perfect-10 performance of Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, the famous emergency landing of a commercial aircraft by Robert Piché, the Atlantic Ocean crossing by rower Mylène Paquette and UFC world champion Georges St-Pierre. The campaign suggests that milk might have played a part in their amazing achievements. For print and OOH, illustrators were commissioned to create 16 different executions representing milk’s 16 nutrients. A full, solid glass of milk – the source of the benefit being celebrated – was positioned in the centre of each illustration, linking all of the executions. The 16 visuals were sometimes displayed together to clearly demonstrate the power of milk and the many benefits of its consumption. The ongoing campaign includes TV ads, radio, print, OOH and digital.

The Results

After just one year in market, the “Solid stuff” campaign has made a significant impact:
-A study conducted by an external firm revealed that 50% of respondents reported the campaign had increased their consumption and buying intention.
-One-third of respondents who had stopped drinking milk said they would reconsider it.
-While it can’t be claimed unequivocally that 100% of these improvements can be attributed to the campaign, white milk sales did show an overall improvement in sales decrease, from -3% to -1.5%.
-The campaign was awarded the “Best Brand Marketing Campaign” at the 2017 World Dairy Innovation Awards in Dublin.