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THINKING: The Grocer Creative Challenge: a 21st Century Milk Campaign

Off of the back of previous innovation creative challenges in the dairy and soft drink categories we were challenged to come up with a general 21st century milk marketing campaign that addresses the under indexing and declining sales of milk amongst millennials as part of The Grocer magazine's Dairymen supplement.

Whilst the full article can be viewed on their website here, they have kindly allowed us to republish our content and write up here.  Comments and discussion welcome at or across our social channels @rpmltd.


We created Milk Does Good a campaign that would remind people of the good milk can do for health, for British farming, and for the community. An exciting and disruptive platform that would challenge not only consumer perceptions of how milk can do good, but also those of the industry.


Milk is suffering. Almonds and Soya are stealing its lattes, cereal has fallen down the breking order and armies of nutritional ‘experts’ have false but damning facts about milk’s nutritional values.


Two fold:

a) We all want to ‘optimise our self’: Eat well, perform better, be the best we can be. b) We want to to look good and feel good. - We are pressured and stressed and scared. We long for simple pleasures and values and just a bit more goodness in the world.


Surprise the world with the news that Milk does good. For your growth, for your health, for British farming, for your local community, for your memory and for many other reasons you wouldn’t expect…



Straight from birth, we all appreciate the power of milk for good. The soul source of a baby’s nutrients, it is vital for life. As we grow, milk strengthens bones to protect us from our youthful exuberance. And as we mature, Milk in coffee, ice cream and chocolate keeps us sane. Without question, milk does good, and we haven’t even started to debate the important job it does to support British farming. Why then, is milk struggling? Set aside supermarket price strategies for the moment, and quite simply, people are taking it for granted. They have forgotten the good milk does. The Milk Does Good platform exists to remind and surprise the nation of all the good milk does. More than re-eduaction, this is a platform with a true social purpose that will disrupt in comms and resonate in culture, putting some much needed love back into the good stuff.





DISRUPT, SURPRISE & DELIGHT. To stand out and embed in culture.

BEHAVIOUR-LED. Supported by truths in comms - because actions speak louder than words alone.

BLACK & WHITE HONESTY. Never too earnest. We say it how it and what we believe without being worthy.

CHEEKY INNOCENCE. Not entirely good but we always have good intentions.



1. LAUNCH: White Paper

Job to be done: Get the facts into the hands and minds of influential and informed consumers to add weight to our side of the debate and have the facts trickle down into mass-consumer conversation and editorial.

What is it? A white paper supplement called The White Paper (presented by the Grocer. Obviously). Inside will be the most definitive, transparent and honest presentation of the facts around milk in recent times. Rich with stats, facts, opinion and revelations. This should do everything it can to legally push EU legislation.

RPM Comment:  As an industry there is quite a bit of work to be done, fighting for what we can say about this product, there are values and product benefits around milk; really powerful ones, that need to be unlocked and delivered in the right way.

2. BROADCAST: Lifestyle Print

Job to be done: Capture the attention and drive re-consideration with our key audiences via their passion points and media choices.

What is it? Disruptive, provocative and playful glossy print advertising that borrows from popular culture to get our facts across powerfully.

  • MEN'S HEALTH: Targeting the gym community.
  • THRASHER MAGAZINE: Targeting the skate community.
  • VOGUE: Targeting the beauty and fashion community. 

RPM Comment: Instead of getting into a big debate over milk, we wanted to find the smallest truths and explode them.  Our print ad campaign is about finding the truth that is most specific to a community of interest and communicating it to them in their language.

EU health claim regulations place big restrictions on what can be said about milk, with official wording often not lending itself to snappy ad copy. Reiterating the importance of launching with a research led piece, to push the accredited health claims that can be made.

3. TRIAL: Ambient Sampling

Job to be done: Get people to try and reappraise the product by the benefit not the liquid by hijacking other shopping missions and consideration/browsing occasions.

What is it? Hijacking beauty area of department stores (Selfridges, for example) with our “original beauty serum” idea: a Cleopatra inspired skin milk bar. Alternatives: Would do this for Gyms (Popeye vending machines) or skate (skate park refreshment stations with stickers and first aid – obviously).

RPM Comment: Following up on he print campaign, taking milk into the world and environment of specific communities be that Selfridges Beauty Hall or gym consessions.  By speaking the language, focusing on small relatable truths and turning up in the relevant environment you are implying that this product could actually be quite useful in delivering desired health benefits at a time of purchase. 

4. RETAIL: Embedded Generosity

Job to be done: Give people another reason to buy milk and another reason for retailers to give it feature instore feature.

What is it? New format 250ml bottle with 10p with very bottle going towards a national ‘Milk Fund’. The fund is the used to invest in community projects from regeneration to education and grass roots sport.

RPM Comment: People identify most strongly through their passions, attitudes and beliefs, by focusing on these you can create a campaign that has resonance and relevance and is therefore much more likely to incite behavioural change.  With so many negative associations around existing truths, it made sense to focus on a specific benefit in store, than trying to convince people that milk is not so bad.  

The Milk Fund uses embedded generosity to change the conversation around milk, providing the white stuff with a purpose (which it currently lacks).  Delivering more goodness in the UK is a conversation which they could own via this mechanic, and one which unlike the health claims, couldn't be challenged. 

RETAIL: Collaborations

Job to be done: Give people another reason to buy milk and retailers another reason to give it feature in and around store.

What is it?  Celebrity artists and influencers invited tho customise the 250ml bottles.

RPM Comment: Limited edition 250ml celebrity designed glass bottles would create noise in culture, create standout, justify a higher price point and appeal to millennials as an on-the go format. The design has a vintage value to it and is a nod to the industries historic place in communities. The glass bottle also encourages the product to be consumed in it's perfect serve format, driving crave for those who already enjoy a glass of milk at home, but struggle finding the correct format to drink on-the-go.   

5. ACTION: Community Action

Job to be done: Prove to the nation that Milk actually does good by investing in projects and initiatives that are close to home, really make a difference and strengthen the community.

What is it? Activation one: Escapes to the country via branded buses for inner-city school children to appreciate the importance of British farming and get closer to nature.

RPM Comment:  By investing in the community the Milk Fund would change the conversation around milk as whilst many consumers want to support British farming to many it is quite a distant concept.  Supporting local communities is about finding cause-related issues that are more relevant to shoppers and drive category growth and fairer prices for all.

ACTION: Community Action Activation two: Urban regeneration projects where we invite the community and artist to come and create beautiful green spaces for wellbeing and play.

6. SOCIAL: Making farmers famous

Job to be done: Raise the profile, struggles and skills of British farmers in modern culture to bring them closer to, and more revered by, milk drinkers and the wider nation.

What is it? Lead by a reality content series (AFP) ‘Milking It’ in partnership with a leading media partner, influencer channel or publisher, where we follow the lives of farmers around the UK. Hero and invest the real life characters in the series and create social fame for them through Instagram, snapchat and all relevant social and media channels.

RPM Comment: We wanted to turn the cameras on farmers and make their plight more relevent by turning them into a social media property with which people can engage. 

Whilst the milk industry undoubtedly needs a generic campaign to raise and change the profile of the category, the way that those promotions target shoppers should be anything but generic.  

Its biggest challenge is around changing the conversation around milk and giving it a real purpose.  Changing the way that this commodity is experienced across all channels will be key to turning this conversation and subsequently sales around.