California Milk Advisory Board Case Study Analysis Outline

For more than 15 years, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) and its agency Deutsch have touted that "Great milk comes from happy cows. And happy cows come from California" in a long-running campaign to encourage dairy consumption.

But this message doesn't resonate in today's farm-to-table culture. Instead, CMAB and Deutsch are switching from cows to artisan with "Return to Real," a new initiative that focuses on the farmers.

"People are moving away from overly processed foods and getting back to the use of wholesome, real foods, and they want to know where their food comes from. Dairy and the farmers who produce it are at the heart of that movement," says Jeff Bossin, SVP, creative director at Deutsch.

Using real California dairy farmers, the campaign includes four TV spots, an interactive long-form online video, digital banners and a robust social strategy. The spots capture the "romance" of food by using a phantom camera and focuses on different products made from milk -- cheese, yogurt and butter -- that are represented by the Real California Milk seal.  See the ads here, here, here and here.

"The organization did a lot of research and uncovered an insight that most moms don’t want to give their families overly processed foods, which helped drive the direction of campaign," says Bossin.

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Shifting the focus from cows to farmers did provide one welcome perk: humans are much easier to work with than animals.

"The team spent a lot of time traveling to each location to film the farmers on their farms," says Bossin. "We could have never captured the natural beauty of the farm with the cows, sunset, the carafes of milk and the endless fields on a stage. The farmers were very kind, humble and patient and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them." 

The CMAB's national advertising budget is around $20 million annually. CMAB was one of the agency’s first clients when it opened its LA location and has been with Deutsch for more than 15 years.

Discussion Questions1.Analyze the “Happy Cows” campaign that was developed for the California Milk Advisory Board to promote Real California Cheese from an integrated marketing communications perspective. Why do you think the campaign hasbeen so successful? In my point of view, the “Happy Cows” campaign that was started by the CMAB was rebellious and very successful. Why? Because of their implementation of an integrated message by the usage of multiple channels and promotional techniques which were used in multiple ways in order to build and support a strong brand image. And through modification and evaluation of its strategy, Californian cheese producers had a strong brand. IMC perspective was used in order to achieve the CMAB goals. The cows character allowed them to connect with their customers. In addition, the campaign had a larger audience through national advertising. 2.What was the role and importance of the Real California Cheese certificationmark in implementing the positioning and IMC program elements? Howand where was it implemented? Do you think it made a difference to theprogram?The role and importance of the Real Californian Cheese certification mark in implementing the positioning and IMC program elements lays in the assurance to the consumers that the cheese that they are purchasing is made in California and 100% natural from purely Californian milk. Coupons, point-of-sales materials, restaurant menus, table tens and assorted cheese packages had a seamark placed. Furthermore, success and difference were made to the campaign because of the use of the certification mark because sales were increased on numerous levels and depth of the use was shown.3.What was the role of advertising in establishing the Real California Cheesebrand personality? What were the constraints the advertising agency had towork around in developing the campaign? How would you describe thepersonality that was created?

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