The U.S. dairy industry is making the most of marketing and promotional opportunities surrounding the 2016 Summer Olympics Games, which begin Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Milk processors and yogurt producers are among the most prominent supporters. Large and small dairies are supporting Team USA or individual athletes. Other companies are using former Olympians as spokespeople.

Perhaps the best-known marketing effort is that of MilkPEP. The Milk Processor Education Program signed a multiyear deal in January with the United States Olympic Committee to support the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams through the Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The deal allows processors of white milk (not chocolate) to use the Olympic rings and other imagery to show their support for Team USA. (See photo gallery above for examples.) Dairies need approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee before they can print labels and other marketing materials with the rings.

Dean Foods Co. created a contest around the Olympic games, with the top prize being a trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. To enter, fans send a text message with the word Dairypure to a number printed on packages of Dean Foods’ Dairy Pure milk brand. There are also weekly Milk Life/Team USA-themed prizes in the contest, which runs through Aug. 31.

In July HP Hood hosted an outing at the Greater Springfield (Mass.) YMCA with gymnast and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Tim Daggett. The two-hour event included sports activities for parents and their children, giveaways and a meet-and-greet with Daggett. A nutritionist was on-site to discuss the benefits of milk consumption.

As reported earlier this year in Dairy Foods magazine, a number of fluid milk processors are using the five-rings logo on their packaging. Shamrock Farms’ new packaging uses the Milk Life and U.S. Olympic Team logos, along with “spokescow” Roxie” (a cartoon character wearing patriotic apparel). Packages of white milk carry the words "Nutrients to Power Gold Medal Dreams."

Lewis Goldstein, VP of brand marketing for Organic Valley, said the dairy is developing point-of-sale materials featuring a to-be-named Team USA athlete, who is the MilkPEP spokesperson for organic milk processors.

“We also plan to follow this Team USA athlete’s journey to the Olympic Games on our social channels to help create a personal connection with our brand,” he said. The dairy co-op is also donating milk to some of the athletes as they train in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games, Goldstein said.

Materne signs gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes as a ‘goodwill ambassador’

Materne North America Corp.’s GoGo squeeZ brand of yogurt and applesauce packaged in squeezable tubes, has tapped Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes to be its “Goodness Ambassador.” The former gymnast will use her role model status to help improve the nutrition habits and overall wellness of America’s youth, the company stated.

GoGo squeeze is in a long-term partnership with Action for Healthy Kids, a nonprofit that works to create healthier schools nationwide.

“By working with GoGo squeeZ and AFHK, we can teach kids fun ways to incorporate better nutrition habits and physical activity into their daily lives,” Dawes said in a statement. Dawes won medals in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Chobani supports nine Olympic athletes on Team USA

Greek yogurt processor Chobani LLC has been a sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee since 2012. It is supporting individual Team USA athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Team Chobani consists of the following athletes (and their sport):

Morgan Brian (soccer); Jordan Burroughs (wrestling); Ashton Eaton ( track and field), Marlen Esparza (boxing), Allyson Felix (track and field), Luis Gil (soccer), Allison Jones (para-cycling), Alex Morgan (soccer) and Melissa Stockwell (para-triathlon).

Chobani is featuring the athletes in TV, digital and in-store advertising. See video examples here. The yogurt maker offers pre- and post-workout nutrition tips, including recipes here:

Gold medal soccer player Carli Lloyd supports Lifeway Foods

Lifeway Foods, a maker of kefir and other cultured dairy beverages, named Carli Lloyd to serve as brand ambassador. Lloyd, a member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, has won two Olympic gold medals as well as a FIFA Women’s World Cup championship.

She stars in a Lifeway commercial that will air during the games, will appear at a series of events on behalf of the company and be featured in on-pack messaging over the next year. She will also share her experiences with Lifeway on social media, where she has more than 630,000 Facebook and 670,000 Instagram followers.

Gold medal swimmer Allison Schmitt promotes chocolate milk

Through its “Built With Chocolate Milk” campaign, MilkPEP has partnered with USA Swimming, which has designated chocolate milk the “official recovery beverage of USA Swimming.” Olympic medalists Tyler Clary and Jessica Hardy have joined the Built With Chocolate Milk team in their national marketing campaign.

At the state level, Michigan native and gold medal winning swimmer Allison Schmitt is partnering with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to promote chocolate milk and good nutrition to schools and student-athletes throughout Michigan. Schmitt frequently visits schools and swimming organizations in her hometown of Canton, Mich., to inspire students with her message.

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan is the umbrella organization for the Dairy Council of Michigan and the American Dairy Association of Michigan.