16 November 2001

White Stuff milk campaign ends as cash dries up

By Isabel Davies

THE White Stuff advertising campaign, which has boosted milk sales by about 60m litres in 18 months, is set to come to an abrupt halt after dairy companies refused to extend the funding period.

Jim Begg, director general of the Dairy Industry Federation, which represents the companies, said they were suspending funding for the campaign until its impact has been fully analysed. The Dairy Council board, of which the DIF is a member, had already agreed to analyse the figures before deciding what to do next, he claimed.

As a result of the move, the Milk Development Council has announced the levy rate to dairy farmers has been reduced from 0.06p/litre to 0.04p/litre from Nov 1. The organisation said it had a moral obligation to stop collecting money but it was disappointed that the campaign had to be suspended from the New Year.

Marketing consultants have told the MDC that abandoning the campaign will be "a backwards step and would result in a poor return on investment to date". MDC chief executive, Kevin Bellamy, said £200,000 of money from producers would be spent on a final one-off burst of advertising over Christmas.

"While we are disappointed at the DIFs decision to defer funding of the White Stuff campaign, we are keen to keep the momentum of this successful campaign going, particularly over the busy Christmas period," said Mr Bellamy.

An NFU spokeswoman said farmers had voted in favour of paying a levy for three years so the news the campaign would be put on hold was disappointing. "The NFU will work with the trade to try to find ways in which funding can continue," she added. &#42