From Sideline to Center Stage
Pamela Accetta Smith
(847) 205-5660 ext. 4069
Getting consumers to get excited about a glass of milk or chunk of cheese has been a real challenge for processors over the years. Driving dairy away from the commodity mindset hasn’t been easy.
Grand advertising schemes have been reserved for marketing geniuses such as Coke or Pepsi. Although it has been an uphill battle, never has dairy marketing been more exciting. Ever since the famed “got milk?” campaign put dairy on the proverbial map of American consumerism, processors are coming up with keen and spirited ways to get their products on top of mind and stomach of today’s shopper.
It’s no secret marketing plays a key role in building product or brand awareness, boosting sales and, ultimately, improving profitability. Therefore, campaigns must be integrated programs, encompassing new product development, product packaging, market research and advertising through a variety of media, public relations and grassroots promotions.
Whether driven by their own desire to capture market share or inspired by successful general marketing efforts from industry-funded organizations, processors increasingly invest in marketing to stay competitive, both within and beyond the dairy category.
Many hard-hitting marketing strategies for dairy products can be traced to general industry-funded programs during the ’90s. The ads and marketing strategies from such organizations as the National Dairy Council, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and MilkPEP, can be credited for increasing milk consumption and awareness.
Beyond these programs, processors are looking at innovative ways to drive their products into the marketplace. From co-branding to joining forces with Disney cartoon characters, there’s no limit to what companies can do to get a premier seat in the dairy case. For example, Saputo Cheese USA Inc. is bringing the success of Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles” to the dairy aisle this spring with a $5 rebate offer on a DVD of the popular movie. What happens when the wholesome snacking choice of today’s on-the-go families — Frigo® Cheese Heads® — joins forces with the No. 1 blockbuster family film of the year? According to Saputo, consumers will flock to the dairy case.
A national FSI on March 13 will announce the DVD rebate and delivers a high-value Cheese Heads coupon to over 37 million households. According to Saputo, this promotion can’t help but create an incredible impression. Actually, more than 190 million impressions will be created with the full-page FSI in March, plus online advertising on, full-page ads in Nickelodeon, Disney Adventures and other favorite kids’ magazines, a month-long radio campaign on Radio Disney and an eye-catching presence in the dairy case with exciting packaging and clip-strip displays.
In other dairy media news, Jarlsberg is also getting airtime on national television. For only the second time in its 40-year U.S. history, classic Jarlsberg cheese has embarked on a major television campaign. Imported and distributed exclusively by Norseland Inc. of Stamford, Conn., this best-seller has been promoted through a series of 30-second commercials on the Food Network — more than 450 between January and May 2005. The intense 15-week schedule represents Jarlsberg’s most significant New York media buy. The company says Food Network was chosen because its colorful roster of celebrity chef programming provides an ideal environment, targeting primarily up-market viewers (age 25 to 54) who typically purchase the most imported cheese.
It is hard not to see how far we’ve come. I mean, even cheese can make it in show biz.
Dairy has definitely taken center stage, traveling far from its sideline reputation of days past.  
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