AHDB campaign draws millennials back to dairy

A £1.2m consumer campaign aimed at reminding the public of its love for dairy found that 11% of 26-41-year-olds were less likely to replace dairy products with alternatives – well ahead of expectations.

The campaign, jointly funded by AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK, created a spoof government agency – the Department of Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs – and focused on digital marketing, a move away from the more traditional approach seen in previous industry campaigns.

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“We took a bit of a risk moving away from traditional formats but the results exceeded all expectations,” said AHDB head of crops and dairy marketing Rebecca Miah.

Sentiment around the advertisements was 99.9% positive, with just one negative story from the vegan website Plant Based News, out of a total of 369 items of coverage.

About 19 million consumers interacted with the campaign on social media, which promoted its positive dairy message through online personalities with large follower bases, known as “influencers”.

Promotions also targeted on-demand television, reaching a further 5.3 million people, while billboards positioned in city centres and transport hubs, including London Waterloo train station, were seen by 8.7 million people.

“This campaign was about creating an attitude shift among consumers,” Ms Miah said.

“The vast majority of people love dairy but 90% of products are consumed as part of or with another product, like a latte or a cheese sandwich.”

She added that declining consumption of dairy products could often be attributed to falls of these host products and not dairy by itself.

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The campaign’s success has secured a further £1.2m to run for a second consecutive year

“We are now looking at finding new host products for the next generation of dairy consumers. Mexican food is growing in popularity and frozen yoghurt or ‘froyo’ has proven to be a huge success,” Ms Miah said.

The focus for year two of the campaign would also shift towards a younger audience between the ages of 16-24.

Farmers integral to campaign’s success

Farmers have played a crucial role in the campaigns success, according to Rebecca Miah, who added that consumers want to learn about where their food comes from.

“They have been brilliant at taking to social media to share the natural qualities of dairy and its ‘food to fork’ story.

“Lots of farmers downloaded promotional packs and I’ve seen farm banners across the country on prime real estate such as the sides of motorways and main roads that we would never be able to afford.”

Ms Miah added that the message had been taken into schools and local markets by farmers, spreading the message of productivity.

Farmers looking to get involved in the second year of the campaign can order materials on the AHDB Dairy website or get tips on how to interact on social media from the Tell It Like It Is webpage