As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

The dairy industry has a familiar question for you: “Got milk?”

Six years after the popular tagline was retired, “Got milk?” ads are back. A dairy industry-funded group is reviving the campaign, hoping to prolong the boost milk has gotten during the pandemic.

U.S. milk sales have been in freefall for decades as choices grew and consumers turned to soda, juices and plant-based alternatives like soy milk. Dean Foods, the nation’s biggest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy protection in November. Borden Dairy, another major producer, followed with its own bankruptcy in January.

But then came the coronavirus pandemic, and milk sales saw a sharp rise. Kids who were no longer having meals at school were drinking milk at home. Adults — no longer commuting — had time for a leisurely bowl of cereal. Many people were buying milk to bake and cook at home.

Unlike the original “Got milk?” campaign, which debuted in 1994 and was known for its glossy photos of celebrities sporting milk moustaches, the new campaign reflects the age of social media.

Television ads feature videos culled from the Internet of people doing funny things with milk, like opening a gallon with their toes or jumping into a kiddie pool filled with milk and cereal. In one TikTok spot, Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky swims the length of a pool with a glass of chocolate milk balanced on her head.

There will also be tie-ins with other brands like Hershey, which will offer in-grocery coupons when shoppers buy milk with chocolate syrup.

From January through July 18, U.S. milk retail sales were up 8.3% to $6.4 billion, according to Nielsen. During the same period last year, milk sales were down 2.3%.

Milk sales saw their biggest year-over-year jump of 21% in March, when buyers were stocking up their pantries. But they remained elevated even after panic buying subsided. In June U.S. milk sales were up 2%.

Sales of milk alternatives have also risen. U.S. sales of oat milk were up 270% to $132 million in the 29-week period, Nielsen said. Almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk also saw gains.

Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP — short for the Milk Processor Education Program, which is funding the campaign — said cow’s milk ticks the boxes of what consumers are looking for during a pandemic: comfort, nutrition, stability and versatility. Social media research showed a 40% increase in positive mentions about milk this year, she said.

“It’s been a really exceptional year,” she said. “We’re very focused on, ‘How do we sustain that demand?’”

Other brands have also noted that consumers are looking for comfort foods. McDonald’s said last week that it will focus on familiar menu items — not newer innovations — when it ramps up marketing in the second half of this year.

“Consumers are still looking for the trusted favourites,” McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczkinsi said.

The “Got milk?” campaign will likely run through the end of this year. Rani wouldn’t say how much MilkPEP is spending.

Rani said the organization debated a lot of taglines for the campaign but found “Got milk?” resonated the most. Even teens too young to have seen the original ads knew the line, she said.

“Sometimes the answer you’re looking for is right under your nose,” she said.

Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A home on Montana First Nation was damaged by fire in the early hours on Dec. 2, 2020. (Chevi Rabbit/Submitted)
House fires on Samson Cree Nation under investigation

Two separate fires took place in the early hours of Dec. 2

Town of Bashaw council heard that volunteers may host public skating on Long Valley Lake this winter. ECA Review/S.Salkeld
Town of Bashaw has no problem with public skating on Long Valley Lake

The suggestion included the town Public Works staff pitching in to remove snow

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Central zone up to 1,249 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer sits at 257 active COVID-19 cases

t
Outbreaks declared in Ponoka, Camrose County

COVID-19 update as of Dec. 1, 2020

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(File photo)
It’s almost time for the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count!

This year’s counts will take place between Monday, Dec. 14th through Tuesday, Jan. 5th, 2021

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

A scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraiser at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal highlight. (Independent file photo)
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

Most Read