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'Got Milk?' Yes, You Do Again

Dairy industry's iconic ad campaign makes a comeback as milk sales shoot up during pandemic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2020 8:11 AM CDT
'Got Milk?' Yes, You Do Again
Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt.   (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

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 group funded by the dairy industry is reviving it, hoping to prolong the boost milk has gotten during the pandemic. US milk sales have been in freefall for decades as consumers turned to soda, juices, and plant-based alternatives. Dean Foods, the nation’s biggest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy in November. Borden Dairy followed in January. But then came the pandemic, and milk sales saw a sharp rise as both kids and adults began drinking more of it at home. Many also were buying milk to bake and cook, per the AP. Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP, which is funding the campaign, said milk checks what consumers want in a pandemic: comfort, nutrition, stability, and versatility.

“We’re very focused on, ‘How do we sustain that demand?’” she says. Unlike the original campaign, which debuted in 1994 with glossy photos of celebrities sporting milk mustaches, the new campaign reflects the age of social media. TV 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. From January through July 18, milk retail sales were up 8.3% to $6.4 billion. During the same period last year, sales were down 2.3%. Milk sales saw their biggest year-over-year jump of 21% in March, when buyers were stocking up pantries. But they remained elevated after panic buying subsided. Rani said MilkPEP debated a lot of taglines but found “Got milk?” resonated. “Sometimes the answer you’re looking for is right under your nose,” she said.

(More milk stories.)

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