Dairy Farmers rejuvenates its marketing push

A series of campaigns under the 'Here's to Good' masterbrand catchcry actively nod to its new Australian-made and owned status and to its 120 year-old heritage

After at least decade without sustained marketing communications effort for its masterbrand, Dairy Farmers has stepped up activity under the ‘Here’s to Good’ banner with marketing bursts for core products. 

The latest, for Classic flavoured milk, is one of three product campaigns bearing the masterbrand banner and capitalising on Dairy Farmers’ new Australian-made-and-owned status. The campaigns also apply lessons of Covid 2020 about what consumers wanted most from brands – wholesomeness and reasons to trust brands. 

The sale to Bega Cheese Limited by Lion Dairy and Drinks finalised in January this year brought Dairy Farmers under Bega’s Australian banner. Dairy Farmers then kicked off the year as a key element of Bega’s celebration of ‘Aussie-owned, made and loved’ products across its dairy and drinks portfolio in February 2021. With Dairy Farmers’ 120-year history, the brand was well placed to sell this sort of heritage, largely through high-reach channels in press and out-of-home advertising. 

In addition, the team has introduced new Dairy Farmers packaging and products. The three new product campaigns, packaging and communications all give a nod to the ‘Here’s to Good’ masterbrand platform.  

“It’s probably the first time in Dairy Farmers’ history that the brand has had such connected campaign, and an organised communications effort tied to the masterbrand," said Bega marketing director, dairy and drinks, Sharon Winton. "It's also connected to the brand’s purpose around families and the idea that we do stand for something more than just what we're selling.” 

The new ‘beach fantasy’ TVC for Classic flavoured milk projects women into a musical beach scene in a break away from the brash masculine creative that Dairy Farmers said is more typical for the category. Created by AJF Partnership, the TVC is supported by out-of-home, TikTok, Tinder, Instagram and Facebook advertising, as well as panels near sales outlets.  

Read more: the rise of the conscious consumer

Unlike much of Dairy farmers’ marketing to mums and families, the new Classic marketing targets 25 to 39-year-olds looking for a mental and physical pick me-up. A sip of a Classic milk takes an otherwise bored shopper from a checkout queue to playing the sax on a beach, jiving in tropical Carmen Miranda fashions.

Winton reported a 12 per cent increase in new outlets picking up the product, plus 8-9 per cent growth in supermarket sales since the campaign launched in June. This sits against the overall brand growth of 3 per cent annually, which she welcomed “for a brand that has been around for 120 years”. 

The Classic range gets a lift - and consumers get a reminder - every so often with ‘limited edition’ classics, with recent offerings including white chocolate and salted chocolate. These are usually sold for about six months – unless there’s a public outcry for a flavour so popular that Dairy Farmers must put it back on the shelf.  

Winton said being back under Australian ownership led to a key focus on celebrating Australian-owned and made and the quality of local dairy products.

 “The last 18 months have taught us that Australians are looking for brands they can trust. They value local and Australian-made brands and products that are good for them and their families. I wouldn’t say they were new trends but they've been accelerated by the pandemic," Winton said.

"What we were seeing made us reflect that this beautiful Dairy Farmers brand has been connected to the community and been providing nourishment to Australian families for so long. It was the perfect time for us to celebrate that across the breadth of our portfolio."

The Classic ad’s appeal to the individual follows family-oriented ads such as Dairy Farmers' unflavoured or ‘white’ milk ad during the Olympics, and 'ongoing', which focuses on people’s generosity. In it, a teenager looking for breakfast finds there is only one serve of milk left and makes his hard-working mum a cuppa instead of using it himself.  

“It’s a moment of generosity which brings to life the role milk can play in households. It’s been a pretty tough time for Aussies and we continue to see little acts of generosity shining through. It’s celebrating moments that connect us as humans,” said Winton. 

Community and generosity were also the focus of a highly successful customer engagement promotion, which ran April to June. This offered anyone with a story of deeds done selflessly the chance to win $1000 themselves and another $1000 for their chosen charity. More than 250,000 entrants responded to the promotion through a partnership with ARN radio's metropolitan network as well as via packaging, social and other media and public relations work. 

The three product masterbrand campaigns have followed a similar investment pattern, with screens dominating at least 50 per cent of spend, OOH and radio about 15 per cent each and digital at about 20 per cent. In future, Winton said the digital portion will increase. 

Dairy Farmers plans to continue using the three screen assets it has debuted this year. New products are also in the pipeline to follow the recently introduced Heart Active and Bone Active specific health lines. Winton cited more community sponsorship and activation alongside existing partnerships with Ronald McDonald House and Landcare are on the cards, along with on-pack promotions and consumer engagement. 

“It has been a long while - many years - when we didn’t talk across the range. And we can see the momentum now,” Winton added.  

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