Anchor and Colenso play the cute kid card to fight against declining milk consumption

Milk consumption is declining in a number of developed markets, with the Washington Post stating that the average American drinks 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970. Similar trends are evident in New Zealand, with the Herald estimating that it has decreased from 139 litres a head a year in 1974 to about 81 litres a head last year. There are a number of reasons for that, including rising prices, a proliferation of other beverage options and one recent study that appeared to turn the received wisdom of milk’s health benefits on its head. But, following on from Fonterra’s Milk in Schools Initiative, Anchor and Colenso BBDO are continuing their mission to get cow juice into the gullets of more New Zealanders by convincing parents that milk helps grow healthy kids.  

Anchor’s last campaign used glass cows to promote its lightproof bottles. But the new campaign, which features the tagline ‘Must be Milk’, aims to bring the sometimes surprising benefits of milk to life in the real world by featuring real stories from real people and real Kiwi families. These stories will be told through TVCs, online films and in print. 

“Anchor milk really does help kids grow up healthy and strong,” says Steve Cochran, executive creative director at Colenso BBDO, in a release​. “There’s proof of it in every street in New Zealand. We simply found three great examples and filmed them.” 

In the first installment, five-year-old Lila and her mum discover the joy of the tooth fairy and Lila gives her take on growing older, where teeth come from and the tooth fairy’s roll in it all. Online, the clip focuses on her mum and how she feels about her little girl growing up. And in the real world—and in a similar fashion to various Santa services—Anchor will help parents bring some of that magic to life with personalised letters from the tooth fairy

“Lila made our job easy,” says Cochran. “Not only was she extremely cute, she did it without a script. She deserves a mention in the credits below.”

The campaign, which was shot by James Solomon of Fish, will continue with more surprising examples of what milk can do. 

Lewis Road Creamery has created a few surprising examples of what milk can do, with its seemingly magical chocolate elixir sending the nation into a frenzy last year. As of late last year, it had two percent of the $410 million milk market, with up to ten percent share in some high-end supermarkets, and founder Peter Cullinane is aiming for 20 percent share.

A2 milk in Australia is another example of dairy growth, with the NBR saying it is “one of the fastest-growing dairy brands in Australia with year-on-year brand growth of 38 percent for the four months ending October compared to the previous corresponding period. It now has an estimated nine percent share of milk sales by value in grocery”. Coca-Cola has also seen the potential of premium milk and launched Fairlife in the US recently. And these developments show that consumers are looking for options other than standard milk. 

Foodstuffs NZ corporate PR director Antoinette Laird says sales for coconut, almond and oat milks are growing well, but off a very small base. Almond milk is her pick for Foodstuffs’ stand-out performer as it shows a year-on-year growth rate of 119 percent. Fresh milk sales have been minimally impacted by this uptake, however, and clocked in with a “negligible” dip of one percent last year.  

In case you were wondering, Wikipedia says New Zealand’s milk consumption per capita was 104kg in 2007, placing it 84th. In comparison, Finland was in top spot with 361kgs

Peter McClure was head of Fonterra Brands for around 20 years and has recently stepped down. Here’s what he had to say about grabbing shoppers’ eyeballs in eight seconds, why that lightproof milk bottle wasn’t actually a flop and the reason entrepreneurs have a marketing jump on the corporates.

Supermarket shelves are full of stuff shouting for our attention. How can brands stand a chance of being bought?

It’s getting a lot more difficult. We begin with consumer insights and from those try and determine how we can satisfy consumers’ needs, particularly shoppers. The consumer and the shopper are often two very different people. The purchase decision is often made in store and the final act is often hurried. Research shows the average consumer spends eight seconds in front of the milk chiller, so you have to grab their attention in a very short period.

What’s really pushing buyers’ buttons these days?

There’s a fundamental change taking place. A few years back it would be all about diet, diet drinks and yoghurts, now it’s more about wholesomeness and wellness. But it’s not that simple. In yoghurts, for example, at the same time as there’s this drive towards wellness and low fat and lower sugar options, you’ve also got the opposite going on. A lot of the development and the explosion in the category is in the indulgent end of the market, with companies like Piako and Puhoi Valley. Often you have a trend and a counter trend going on at the same time.

You must have seen some stellar product launches and some stinkers. Why do some work and others fail?

One that went out of the blocks fantastically was Mammoth. It took off. The insight was men stopped eating yoghurt at about 35, and we figured maybe mums were buying it for the family and what she was buying wasn’t that exciting. We came up with a bloke’s yoghurt. It had high fat content and was a man-sized meal. It really targeted men with a tongue in cheek approach [in saying that, the yoghurt has disappeared off supermarket shelves—and the brand has disappeared off Facebook—but the iced coffee is still available]. Often these things are about timing. Sometimes you launch something and it doesn’t work and you launch later and it works. At Johnson’s we launched the first ever pump pack of soap and only sold 2,000-3,000 cases in the first year. We re-launched it as soap on tap, then as softwash, and it took off. When the timing was right, away it went. If you look at it now, there are extensions into shower and bath gels. Try selling one of those 20 years ago.

You copped huge flak over Anchor’s light proof milk bottle. Was that a winner or a stinker?

We came under amazing attack, there was even a New Zealand Herald editorial on it. We talked about a triple layer bottle and people got the impression there was a lot more plastic, when there wasn’t. A lot of people said they couldn’t see their milk and how much was left. The media just went after us on it. I’d been on television every few months talking about milk prices and people were saying, ‘why don’t you give us cheap milk, we don’t want the flashy bottle.’ All that seems to have dissipated now. We interacted with consumers because we knew they were concerned about recycling. We closed the loop and worked with bottle collectors and found a way for all the Anchor bottles to be processed into bottles, wheelie bins and worm farms and pipes on farms. Most other bottles are shredded and sent offshore for recycling.

So it’s as much about how a company behaves as the product it sells?

What consumers do more now is look behind the brand. They ask what is the company’s record in recycling, and beyond that on sustainability, how does it treat animals, etc. I’m also chairman of World Vision New Zealand. World Vision had an issue in the US about hiring practices for homosexuals in a married relationship. Within a couple of hours we had supporters here calling us up. Things go viral incredibly quickly. We use digital campaigns all the time now. When you give consumers a format or a context to give feedback, you have to respond very quickly or it can get out of control.  

Are demanding digital types just an annoying fact of life now?

Marketers have to get accustomed to consumers owning their brand more and having a sense of ownership in it. In food you have issues daily, like ‘I’ve found a fly in my soup.’ We find 95 percent of those issues are things that get into the product in the household. Every one of those issues got escalated to me. We have to go through a very rigorous process. If someone said they found a hairclip in their yoghurt, all our products go through x-rays so we can say the one with the hairclip would have been rejected. And we have a digital photo of every pack. The difference is consumers rush to the media with everything. They’re not even interested in hearing the initial communication.

You’ve been part of a corporate marketing machine, but what are your tips for the little guys launching what they hope will be the next big thing?

You’ve got to have a quality product and the capability to support it. And you’ve got to have a point of difference. Supermarkets will tend to encourage new players; it keeps the big guys honest. We’ve seen small guys like Piako come in, and now we manufacture, market and distribute their products. 


Executive Creative Director: Steve Cochran

Deputy Creative Director:  Mick Stalker

Senior Art Director: Jim Walsh

Copywriter: Lila – aged 5.

Account Director: Kat Sliper

Planner: Andy McLiesh

Executive Producer: Jen Storey

Production Company: Flying Fish

Director: James Solomon

Producer: Samantha Attenborough

Executive Producer: James Moore

DOP: Marty Williams

Editor: Nathan Pickles

Post-House: MandyVFX

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