Along with all the other natural and human-made crises that continue to pop up in the 21st century, it seems the milk mongers of the world are facing a disaster of their own. Simply put, kids these days just don’t want to drink milk.
As detailed in a recent New York Times piece, the dairy industry’s plans to combat this trend include strategies like hiring influencers to talk up milk and the launch of “product accelerator” contests aimed at revamping the concept of squeezing liquid from a cow’s udder for a new generation.
After describing why young people aren’t drinking much milk anymore—the availability of alternative drinks, say, or an unwillingness to support dairy farming’s negative environmental impact—the article gets into the “full-frontal marketing assault” Big Dairy’s embarked upon to court Gen Z.
There are campaigns to “reboot milk as a sports drink” whose organizers “provide training, gear, advice, and other support” to women runners. In a more unusual approach, there’s also been a partnership with Jimmy “Mr. Beast” Donaldson and Preston Arsement that saw “the two streaming celebrities [heap] love on the nation’s dairy farmers and [explain] sustainable dairy-farming practices” between playing around with Minecraft cows. (Last year’s TwitchCon also saw milk “declared the official ‘performance beverage’ for gamers, according to the article.)
In order to start getting cow juice back down the gullets of the world’s youth, “some milk marketers” have also hosted product accelerator contests that look to, we guess, disrupt traditional milk drinking. One of these, last year’s NY MilkLaunch, bills itself on its website as “an innovative dairy product accelerator driving milk and milk-based product consumption for Generation Z (ages 10-23) with a focus on sustainability, commercialization, and diversity.” After hearing pitches, the organization chose a company called, hilariously, Spylt as a winner. Apparently “a caffeinated chocolate milk whose tagline is ‘Chill it. Then chug it!’” is what Gen Z’s looking for.
Aside from details on these specific programs, the piece is also filled with excellent quotes that mix PR speak with the concept of milk—like a Milk Processor Education Program chief executive telling the Times, “we have to reclaim milk’s mojo” and “we sometimes refer to milk as the O.G. sports drink, powering athletes for 10,000 years.”
With branding like this, maybe the dairy industry will really pull it off. Maybe they’ll win Gen Z back to the udder and secure a beautiful future for us all filled with a generation of young movers and shakers happily sipping frosty glasses of milk with their droogs.
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