Dairy lobby opts for humour over ‘well-meaning’ health messages to boost sales

Dairy Australia will roll out a series of quirky characters to support its latest Legendairy Milk campaign as the industry body hopes to convince consumers of the health benefits of eating dairy products.

The industry has placed its faith in a new humorous set of characters, opening with the fictional Deb Poole – a mother and professional waterslide tester. In the first instalment, Deb tests a slide while coached by her mentor husband, Gary.

Group manager for industry promotion, Isabel MacNeill, told Mumbrella the campaign was about getting the industry noticed again by customers.

“Being noticed is key; and creating fun characters is extremely powerful when it comes to getting people talking, sharing messages, and eventually changing behaviours,” said MacNeill.

Bringing humour back to Dairy: Isabell MacNeill

Bringing humour back to Dairy: Isabell MacNeill

“It’s tongue-in-cheek, yes, but it’s been developed on a foundation of fact. Research shows that eight in 10 Australian adults do not consume the daily recommended milk, cheese and yoghurt intake and that confidence in dairy has been declining over time. Under-consumption of core foods, like dairy, can have negative health consequences.”

The campaign, created by Melbourne agency 10 Feet Tall, features a complete back story for the characters, with new protagonists to be added as the year progresses.

The next character to be introduced will be Jude Vale, a stand-in bridesmaid who uses cheese as her secret weapon.

MacNeill said they had opted for humour to drive the message home as other well-meaning messages about healthy eating were not cutting through.

As a result, she said that the new, lighthearted positioning was a long-term strategy to get people to love diary products in a different way.

The style of the campaign harks back to the award-winning campaign created by Clemenger BBDO more than a decade ago which featured a retired milkman “still doing the rounds” as he visits his former lady customers with amorous intent.

“Dairy is a pretty ordinary-looking product, but underneath it is all these amazing things and that idea that there’s nothing ordinary about it is inspiration for the campaign,” said MacNeill.

“We took on the idea of here are some ordinary looking women but they do extraordinary things. We want to inspire people to think about what they are purchasing.”

The campaign includes radio and print, with extra content through social media and the dedicated webpages for the characters aimed at building deeper engagement with consumers.

Dairy web page

Bauer is also part of the media mix with the Australian Women’s Weekly datelining its February edition ‘Febudairy’.

“It’s not sitting on its own, it’s really integrated through all the things that we are doing,” MacNeill added.

She said one of the key measures of the success of the campaign was the reaction from farmers: “If they don’t like what you are doing we hear very quickly. I think Australian farmers have a good sense of humour but also know there is a truth in the message.”

With the campaign having launched, MacNeill said one of the keys to success was committing to the strategy over the long term.

“We are definitely taking a much longer term view than 12 months,” she said.

“I think that is something we felt is really important is to get some continuity in that and that is one of the reasons we have developed the characters as they are because we think there is so much richness in the stories that they can tell that we will develop those stories as they go along.

“But we will obviously look at feedback along the way to see how they are going.”

Simon Canning



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