Campaign Weighs in

Healthy Weight with Dairy initiative to thrive in 2005.
by Pamela Accetta Smith
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) rolled out the industry’s “Healthy Weight with Dairy” campaign in October 2003 with national marketing efforts to tout new scientific research that suggests a link between dairy consumption and reduced body weight.
As a result, the industry came together to build awareness of this growing body of research on dairy and weight management. The initiative, based on studies published in leading medical journals, reminds consumers that milk, cheese and yogurt can help in weight-loss efforts as part of a reduced-calorie, lowfat diet. The campaign also reminds consumers of the importance of exercise.
While research continues, preliminary findings suggest that calcium plays a role in the body’s natural system for burning fat. The Healthy Weight with Dairy campaign communicates this research to consumers through major print advertising initiatives, national and regional public relations, and trade and health professional efforts.
The original vision was to make a major impact on how people view dairy products.
Just how much influence has it had and how is the initiative progressing as we move into 2005? According to campaign architects, the program is doing remarkably well and continuing to influence consumers and processors alike.
“The program is progressing better than expected,” says Tom Nagle, vice president of marketing for IDFA. “In fact, we have tracking study results going back to late 2002 on some of the core questions of consumer awareness and weight loss, or the consumer belief that milk can help you lose weight. Consumer belief that milk can help you lose weight has quintupled. Those numbers, and that kind of growth in awareness of the idea that milk can help you lose weight, is phenomenal. We are very encouraged that these results suggest we’re going to see significant increases in sales and consumption due to this weight-loss benefit.”
Grant Prentice, executive vice president of marketing and business development for DMI, agrees with Nagle’s assessment. “The overall response from the industry and consumers has been very positive,” he says. “Processors have embraced the dairy weight-loss claim in a variety of different ways. One is certainly supporting the marketing activities that MilkPEP offers and joining in.”
For example, Yoplait — which helped fund the groundbreaking University of Tennessee research — has started placing the 3-A-Day “Burn More Fat, Lose Weight” mark on its yogurt lids. Prentice estimates about 400 million packages will carry that mark.
“The company has been very aggressive,” Prentice says. “They are sort of the poster child, if you will, for the dairy industry really embracing this claim and doing something with it.”
Processors have been very enthusiastic about the health-claim licensing, says Nagle, noting the response has been particularly strong among fluid milk processors. “We’ve issued licenses to companies that represent more than 60 percent of the volume,” he says.
What started as a generic industry campaign has paved the way for many successful individual company efforts. “The generic campaign was the primary voice promoting the weight-loss benefit,” says Nagle. “But as we move into 2005, we are going to see a lot of individual company campaigns promoting the same benefit. And that’s when we’re going to see the really big impact on consumer consumption and sales. It’s not until a company puts it [weight-loss benefit] on the label or puts a program into the store or puts it into their advertising that the consumer can connect the benefit to a product they can pick up and put in their cart.”
Persuasive Programs
The year will feature a fresh blast of exciting programs promoting milk, with increased emphasis on weight-loss and other programs that companies can tailor to specific marketing plans. National programming includes new milk mustache ads and public relations campaigns.
The “24/24 Milk Your Diet, Lose Weight!” initiative continues to capitalize on flavored milk’s popularity with teens and weaves together advertising, public relations and promotional efforts.
Timed for New Year’s weight-loss resolutions, MilkPEP launched the “New View of You” program on ABC-TV’s daytime talk show “The View.” The key component was a retail promotion that offered consumers a 2005 calendar with any milk purchase. The calendar included a year’s worth of wellness tips and ways to incorporate milk into the diet.
“The View” issued the “Great American Weight Loss Challenge” on-air in mid-January. The 12-week challenge offers participants a meal plan — including three servings of milk each day — and an individual diet tracker.
Next, as consumers prepare for bathing suit season, MilkPEP in May will launch “The Curves You Want,” including an offer to redeem two milk bottle caps for a free two-week membership to Curves, a national chain of 7,000 women-focused fitness centers. Additionally, consumers can enter milk UPCs online for the chance to win one of 24 two-year gym memberships. Curves founder Diane Heavin will star in a milk mustache ad that will run in Diane magazine, published for Curves members. This alliance offers processors unique partnership opportunities in their local markets.
Meanwhile, the Milk Mustache Mobile Tour will take the Great American Weight Loss Challenge to consumers in 75 cities. Local Curves franchises and area processors will issue weight-loss challenges to foster competition between municipalities and encourage participation. The city with the highest participation will win a citywide milk mustache ad and $25,000 to build new walking trails.
Leveraging MilkPEP’s NBA sponsorship, teenagers will be able bid through an online auction for some 10,000 prizes using UPC codes from milk packaging. The “Fuel Up with Milk” promotion will run from February to June. Point-of-sale materials will educate moms and teens about the auction. Additionally, POS materials will be shipped to 25,000 middle and high schools to spread the word. Auction prizes include autographed sports gear, tickets to the NBA finals and computer games.
The program’s spokesman, NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, will be featured in TV and print advertising and at a special kick-off event at the NBA All-Star game in February, autograph prizes and participate in a satellite media tour.
Also new in 2005 is the Healthy Schools Challenge, which encourages students to complete a 25-word testimonial on about how their school is getting healthy. Fifty schools will win $1,000 each to make their schools healthier through improvements like installing a milk vending machine or buying new athletic equipment. One grand-prize-winning school will receive a gym makeover, and the student nominator will win tickets to the NBA finals and his or her own milk mustache ad.
MilkPEP’s 2005 Hispanic program will feature its own campaign via print and television advertising. The effort will feature Dr. Aliza, a popular Hispanic medical expert and talk show host, in public-service announcements, a milk mustache ad and public relations efforts, including in-studio interviews. In April, two new TV spots will begin airing on Spanish-language television stations.
Processors’ Role    
To ensure the biggest impact possible with consumers, processors are encouraged to leverage the national promotions with local brands through their programs, community events and sampling opportunities.
For the Great American Weight Loss Challenge, MilkPEP reports, local processors are advised to create their own programs. Maximizing a local effort may include providing milk and other support to groups like walking, running and biking clubs, and enlisting local promotional partners. At local events, MilkPEP advises, processors should consider including a milk mustache photo booth and samples of diet-friendly milk drinks.
To make the most of the national program, processors should recommend Milk Mustache Mobile Tour stops in high-traffic, women-friendly locations and link their company’s Web site to the appropriate city pages of the Weight Loss Challenge Web site.
Processors with a weight-loss license from IDFA can use their brands on the materials associated with these programs and make specific claims about milk’s role in weight loss. Processors without a license can use generic weight-loss point-of-sale materials. For more information about obtaining a weight-loss license, visit
The “got news?” section of provides materials to help promote local programs.
Healthful Messaging
Branded products incorporate weight-loss claims.
When IDFA, DMI and MilkPEP launched the “Healthy Weight with Dairy” campaign, the organizations knew the best vehicles to educate consumers about dairy’s role in weight loss were branded products. Several processors have answered the call by incorporating weight-loss claims on their branded products’ labels and advertising.
“I applaud the processors who have included weight-loss messaging with their branded products,” says Kurt Graetzer, chief executive officer of MilkPEP. “We could see a significant impact on milk sales as consumers hear the news about the weight-loss research — but they need to see it on products labels and in branded advertising.”
Some of the processor promotional efforts include piggy-backing on MilkPEP’s national efforts by using the same types of materials and graphics. Other companies are incorporating ideas into their existing images.
For instance, Smith Dairy, Orrville, Ohio, created a “24/24 Milk Diet Challenge” that built on MilkPEP’s “The Shape You Want to be In.” Using similar imagery, Smith provided consumers with weight-loss guides that had tips on dieting and coupons for Smith products.
PET®/Land o’ Sun, Johnson City, Tenn., is using the tagline “Got milk ... Lose Weight!” Teamed with the slogan is a picture of a milk gallon with a tape measure wrapped around it, on packaging and delivery trucks.
Anderson Erickson Dairy Co. (AE), Des Moines, Iowa, is using several different taglines including “Drink Milk! Lose Weight & Burn Fat!” and “Lose Weight with AE Dairy Milks & Yogurts!” in various forms of advertising.
To use weight-loss claims with advertising, promotions, marketing, public relations or labeling of their branded products, processors must have a license from IDFA, which has an agreement with the University of Tennessee to use the patented research.
Taken from MilkSplash, November 2004.

Staying fit with Dannon
In an effort to help consumers understand what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, The Dannon Co., White Plains, N.Y., has created “Commit To Be Light ’n Fit.” The program encourages consumers to eat healthy and stay fit by signing a contract outlining personal calorie-intake and weight-loss goals. Taking note of the growing trend of self empowerment, Dannon’s Commit To Be Light ’n Fit contract is a personalized pledge to achieve and maintain nutrition and fitness objectives.
Through this initiative, Dannon has partnered with nutritionist and award-winning TV journalist Carolyn O’Neil and celebrity trainer Kathy Kaehler to provide Americans with healthy eating and training tips, and promote the importance of dairy calcium and physical activity as key components of total health. Dubbed Team Light ’n Fit, the crew offers fitness and nutrition guidance on a newly launched Web site,
For more information about Dannon’s Light ‘n Fit program and products, visit
$OMN_arttitle="Campaign Weighs in";?>