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MilkPEP and Gale Rebranded ‘Got Milk?’ for a New Generation

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“Got Milk?” is one of the most effective advertising campaigns in American history. It was clever. It was trendy. It was omnipresent. Most of all, it was memorable. But “Got Milk?” debuted at a different time, for a different generation—before the internet, social media and data analytics changed the way marketers build brands and engage with consumers (and before a trip to the supermarket or coffee shop presented shoppers with an overwhelming number of plant-based milk choices). A 2020s refresh of that iconic campaign using the same marketing and advertising tactics, even if forged in the crucible of TikTok, would have been a strategic misstep.

Understanding this, MilkPEP (short for Milk Processor Education Program) and Gale made an important decision early on: Be prepared to learn and pivot. Measure, monitor and formally review progress. Commit to surrendering assumptions and revising both the grand vision and activation strategy in real-time. Mix humility with agility.

“Everyone wants to be more performance-marketing driven,” said Brad Simms, president and CEO of award-winning Gale. “But modern brand marketing is just as effective as performance marketing if you’re audience-focused, take the right optimization cues and move with pace.”

With a test-and-learn ethos, MilkPEP and Gale introduced “You’re Gonna Need Milk for That,” a brand campaign centered around milk as a high-performance sports drink, in 2021. The team was eager to see how milk would resonate with both professional athletes and fitness-minded consumers alike, as good old-fashioned cow’s milk is full of nutrients that help with hydration and muscle recovery. The campaign spanned broadcast, outdoor, digital and social media, major sports league sponsorships and celebrity athlete endorsements, even featuring professional climber Kai Lightner scaling a wall on top of a 30-story building in a short film. And though it was technically launched under a revived “Got Milk?,” “You’re Gonna Need Milk for That” marked a definitive new chapter for milk producers.

Doing bodies good

The results so far are promising. U.S. multi-outlet and convenience store milk sales reached $15.7 billion in 2022, a gain of almost 10% from the year earlier. Refrigerated white milk had a remarkable year, with sales increasing by 11% to $14 billion, according to data analytics and market research company Information Resources Inc.

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