Milk adverts on screen by next spring?

5 November 1999

Milk adverts on screen by next spring?

MILK advertisements could be screened on British television as early as next April – but only if dairy companies agree to part-fund a promotional campaign.

Producers are set to meet dairy company representatives in the next fortnight after farmers voted to fund an advertising campaign. In a MAFF poll which closed last month, dairy farmers voted by three-to-one to extend the remit of the Milk Development Council to include the promotion of liquid milk.

The dairy sector as a whole has indicated it may spend around £10 million on an 18-month promotion campaign part-funded by a 0.03p/litre increase in the milk levy paid by producers.

Before the campaign gets the go-ahead, however, ministers need to be sure that the Dairy Industry Federation (DIF), which represents dairy companies, will match the farmers funds.

Assuming the DIF agrees it will contribute to the campaign, farm minister Nick Brown is expected to press ahead with extending the MDCs remit to cover promotional activity. MAFF will need to consult on the amendment, likely to be debated next year, before the 0.03p/litre levy was introduced on Apr 1 next year.

Tom Hind, the NFUs assistant milk advisor, said producers would be keen to see advertisements promoting milk as soon as they paid out the levy. "As soon as the levy starts, producers will want to start seeing some results," he said.

Money to NDC

The MDC will then pass the money to the National Dairy Council, which is keen to secure enough funding ahead of time to launch the campaign at the beginning of April. Arrangements could be made so the campaign could start as soon as the levy was raised, said David Balfour, NDC general manager.

Nobody from the DIF was available to comment directly on the likelihood that dairy companies would contribute the same amount as farmers to the campaign. But John Houliston, DIF president, indicated at organisations annual dinner that they would.

"We are ready and willing to work in partnership with suppliers of raw milk to build an industry of which we can all be proud," he said. "We must leave the confrontations of the 1990s behind us and grasp the opportunity… to market milk in a way that suits both dairies and farmers."

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