Thursday, March 27, 2008

Anybody else have an issue with milk advertising?

We all know that the collective milk producers and dairy farmers are advertising heavily (with their "Got Milk?" campaign), and I can see why. They want people to drink more milk. The campaign has got to be the most successful in history (they claim more than 90% awareness). I can believe that number - their ads are EVERYWHERE.

My issue is more with the scope of their campaign. In an previous post I talked about the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement, if done well. They are taking this to the extreme! According to Wikipedia, no few than 200 celebrities have donned the milk mustache. And these are premium-priced celebrities - from Tiger Woods to Angelina Jolie. 200!!! And that's just the non-fictional celebrities! Add a couple dozen more fictional characters, such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Garfield.

Is that necessary? C'mon, I get it. I should drink more milk. But I would rather you use only a handful of these celebrities so that you don't have to charge me $6 for four litres to cover your marketing costs!

I know, I know, how can I, as a marketing consultant, advise against advertising spends? Well, because I think we also have a responsibility to make sure we're not excessively overcharging in order to recoup the costs associated with blatantly glamourous campaigns. In this case, it even seems somewhat monopolistic, since there isn't really a direct competitor to milk. If I want my cereal, I have to spend the $6!

Have your say: What are some other offenders? Who else overcharges to seemingly recoup marketing costs?


Gryphon said...

No competitors! The supermarket is awash with new beverages every day. Fortified water, organic juices, not to mention how many drinks now come with added calcium. That seems like pretty stiff competition to me - especially for milk farmers who are now competing with CPG powerhouse marketers. Sure, you're not going to pour vitamin water on cereal but I bet if you asked milk farmers, they would say they are much more than just cereal dressing.
Product extension takes a substantial spend in my view and the Got Milk campaign has been a staple of advertising for years - so much so that it has become an institution. Sure they have a lot of celebs but who knows, maybe those celebs aren't charging "celeb-style" rates for a campaign that acts as a who's who list. Perhaps they even WANT to do it to send a good message to their own kids.
Milk may just have stumbled onto a genius campaign that is self fulfilling with celebs who want to lend a hand?
Okay that might be a bit much, but consistency and repetition are corner stones to a good cmpaign and they seem to be doing it well...perhaps for less money than we think.
Well, I gotta go and re-make my coffee which seems a little less complete with only cream.

Glenn Cressman said...

I truly hope some or most of the celebrities are donating a portion of their usual fees, as you suggest, as part of a public service. That would certainly soften the blow. But aren't there more worthy causes? Angelina Jolie is excused because she is as socially active as celebrities come. But take David Beckham for example. What other causes does he support with donated use of his image?