Milk’s hall of fame gives retailers a taste of success

By Sandy Wilkie

We all know how important milk is as a product and how vital that product is to local retailers – there are good margins to be had from selling milk and it’s a significant footfall generator. Likewise, the local retailer sector is important to all of us at Wiseman’s and, over the years, we’ve worked hard to demonstrate our commitment to the sector and add value wherever possible, most notably through promotional activity using our Black & White brand.

The role that milk plays for retailers – as the number one footfall driver for convenience stores and boosting retailers’ all-important bottom line – is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the importance of generic milk marketing and feel proud of what milk marketing campaigns have been able to achieve over the past 10 years.

We know that generic marketing works. It improves perceptions of milk as a product and crucially, has an impact on sales figures too. I can say this with such confidence because this has been proved time and time again. The current generic marketing campaign, ‘make mine Milk’, has its roots in Scotland’s The White Stuff which reversed the long-term decline in total fresh milk sales in Scotland – by the end of the campaign figures showed a 3% increase against the baseline.

Launched by Nell McAndrew and supported by prominent Scottish celebrities including David Coulthard and Scotland’s tennis number one – now Olympic champion – Andy Murray, The White Stuff also attracted the support of local retailers in Scotland who were a key component to its success. We regard The White Stuff campaign as the template for how to do generic milk marketing ‘right’. It had the support of the Scottish dairy companies, the milk processors, retailers and the EC and above all, it made a real difference.

I am delighted that the successes of The White Stuff, meant that we were able to extend the concept of the celebrity milk moustache campaign GB-wide when Wiseman’s joined forces with Dairy Crest and Arla. Our joint effort meant that ‘make mine Milk’, got off the ground in 2010 fronted by Gordon Ramsay and Pixie Lott. The campaign is based on a two-pronged approach targeting the mums and dads who do the food shop as well as the kids that consume it.

As in Scotland, we measure the success of ‘make mine Milk’ by analysing sales data as well as tracking consumer attitudes. And two years on it’s good news for retailers – Kantar figures show an increase in consumption of +2.1% for the first year, and +1.5% on top of that for the second year up to May 2012.

And what’s more, consumer tracking conducted by independent research company Researchcraft has proved that generally milk is now seen to be ‘cooler’ and more ‘low fat’ than before.
Thanks to the likes of Gordon and Pixie, later followed by Team Milk’s Denise Lewis and Ed Clancy and Hollywood hardman Vinnie Jones to name a few, the public are turning to milk again.

Looking to the future, we want to be able to maintain this momentum in order to protect the milk supply chain long term. A legacy campaign is in place but thereafter the future of generic marketing lies in the hands of the wider industry.

Until that’s decided, we’re with Vinnie – we’re backing milk because we know what’s good for us, and our retailers.

To find out more about the ‘make mine Milk’ campaign, visit

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