8 December 2000

White Stuff ads boost milk sales

By Isabel Davies

THE White Stuff milk advertising campaign added an extra 12m litres to sales in its first three months, according to the National Dairy Council.

Analysis by research group MMD has shown that since the campaigns launch in June consumption of milk has increased steadily.

NDC marketing manger Andrew Ovens said: "These results are very encouraging and the 12m litres of milk that have been added to the market to date has already affected the decline in milk sales."

While some farmers have been critical of the ads, the research points to consumers liking them. The phrase "White stuff – are you made of it" continues to grow as a slogan with 65% of those surveyed remembering the end line from the campaign.

This, claims the NDC, puts the advert on a par with some old favourites. Carlsbergs "probably the best lager in the world" had a 60% recognition with those surveyed and Oranges "the futures bright, the futures orange" had a 64% recognition.

To give the campaign a fresh boost in the new year, the NDC has also revealed that Animal Hospital presenter Rolf Harris has agreed to be the fifth celebrity to front it.

A new advert featuring a cartoon version of Mr Harris will air nationally in January 2001 and will be in keeping with the theme milk drinkers are everyday heroes.

But while the advertising campaign is boosting demand for milk, research suggests farmers should also be looking to value added products as a way of improving profitability.

An investigation by Imperial College at Wye, on behalf of the Milk Development Council, found that people are willing to pay substantial premiums for locally produced and organic products.

Of the 1200 face-to-face interviews and 16 focus group sessions, just 20% said they selected the cheapest products as their preferred choice.

Over 45% of those asked said they would be willing to pay £1.15 for four pints of organic milk and another 20% said that they would be willing to pay 95p for four pints of locally produced milk – 10p above the price of a four-pint pack of conventional milk.

Kevin Bellamy, technical manager of the MDC, said value added products were being sold in supermarkets but they tended to be made by manufacturers from overseas.

"We hope the research will prompt British dairy producers to fill this more profitable gap in the market rather than pursuing the "commodities trap" where the focus is on reducing the cost of production of commodities." &#42