A Playful Recognition
Pamela Accetta Smith
Senior Editor
(847) 405-4069
paccetta@stagnito.com

While processors are becoming more and more inventive in getting their message out while staring down deep-pocketed competitors for share of stomach (see this month’s Marketing Roundtable), I want to take a minute to underscore the wonderful things dairy marketing groups are doing to help their fluid brethren keep our beloved industry afloat.
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) has announced that nominations for the new MilkPEP “Peppy” Awards are being accepted until June 15. The Peppy Awards will honor outstanding salespeople and dairy representatives who work directly with customers each day and have successfully implemented MilkPEP programs through the use of promotions, materials, research and other resources. Winners will be announced at MilkPEP’s National Dairy Sales and Marketing Meeting in Minneapolis, July 30 to August 1. Entries for the MilkPEP Awards will be accepted in five categories — Schools, Retail, Grassroots Promotions, Business Development and Processor/Producer Coordination.
As part of the renowned National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign, MilkPEP develops national promotion and marketing programs each year to assist processors increase milk sales and generate awareness among consumers of the nutritional benefits of milk and its role in supporting healthy weight.
“There are many processors across the country who demonstrate the excitement and steadfast commitment to the program that we are seeking to honor,” says Julie Buric, MilkPEP vice president of marketing. “The MilkPEP Awards will enable us to recognize those processors who have embraced the programs and used them successfully to drive sales and increase revenues.”
Nominees must complete an entry form and submit a brief summary of how MilkPEP programs and materials were utilized. In addition, nominees are encouraged to remit photos, videos, point-of-sale materials, displays and other supporting materials to demonstrate each success story. Complete entry guidelines are available at www.milkpep.org.
To kick off the awards program, MilkPEP emphasized the success of Mari Hicks, a sales representative with Kemps Dairy of Rochester, Minn. Hicks was the featured Milk Mustache celebrity in a new “got milk?” trade ad that debuted last month. “Mari Hicks truly exemplifies the dedication and creativity that MilkPEP will recognize with the new MilkPEP Awards,” Buric says.
Specifically, Hicks tapped into the Halloween 2006 promotion by utilizing point-of-sale displays and materials. To further increase excitement in retail, Kemps created a new flavor appropriately called “Cookies and Scream.”  
Hicks explains: “I plan our promotions around the MilkPEP promotion calendar each year. The Halloween promotion enabled Kemps to offer a new seasonal program with incentives to our retailers. I believe this differentiated the Kemps brand and strengthened our market share.”