Dairy Farmers get truthful in new campaign

Who: Dairy Farmers of Canada, DDB Canada (Toronto and Montreal), Initiative

What: A new campaign, “Honest. Canadian. Dairy,” specifically targeting millennials.

When & Where: The campaign debuted at the end of January and is running through March across TV, social, out-of-home and Spotify.

How: The concept behind this bilingual campaign (“Tout Simplement Bons” in Quebec) is an honest recounting of the benefits of Canadian dairy products. Video spots feature farmers sharing facts such as there are no artificial growth hormones in milk produced in Canada, and that most of the country’s dairy runs are family-run operations with less than 100 cows (one two-minute spot features a farmer naming all 89 of his cows). The farmers’ candour is further demonstrated by acknowledging the fact they are appearing in ads (“I would have skipped this ad by now, and I’m in it,” says the farmer in one spot).

Why: Lucie Bérubé, acting director of marketing for the DFC, said that millennials are reluctant to consume dairy products on a regular basis. The campaign is an attempt to clarify some of the misconceptions this group has around dairy, she said.

Important subtext: The recently reworked trade deal with the U.S. will see more American dairy products crossing the border into Canada. While Canadian dairy farmers can’t give their cows hormones to increase milk production, they are permitted in the U.S. (about 17% of U.S. cows receive the artificial hormone according to a 2007 USDA study). It seems like hormone-free milk will be a important differentiator for DFC in a more competitive market.    

And we quote: “We wanted to be upfront with Canadians about what’s true and what’s not when it comes to Canadian dairy farming. That carried over to the advertising. It felt natural to be upfront about the fact our ads were ads” —Craig Ferguson, creative director, DDB Canada Toronto.

Chris Powell