Dairy Farmers wants a stronger Canada, but it’s also got laughs for the kids

Who: Dairy Farmers of Canada, with DDB and Angry Butterfly for creative, and Initiative for media.

What: Two new and distinctly different ad campaigns for the holidays: The more earnest “#ChooseCanadianDairy” which appeals in part to Canadian patriotism, and “Happy Holi-Dairy” targeting millennials and Gen Z.

When & Where: Both launched Dec. 6, and will run for four weeks in French and English. #ChooseCanadianDairy (by DDB) includes TV, retail, out-of-home and digital, while Holi-Dairy (by Angry Butterfly) is social and digital only.

Why: Dairy Farmers of Canada’s core brand messaging has been around quality products and sustainable farming practices—represented by its Blue Cow logo—while also spotlighting the Canadian farmers and their families to put a human face on its products and to encourage people to shop Canadian.

The new advertising sticks to those themes at a time of year when many Canadians will be baking more and planning special meals for the holidays in ways most weren’t able to last year. “When you’re celebrating with your family after all this time—and many people haven’t—we know that dairy plays a central role,” said Pamela Nalewajek, DFC’s vice-president of marketing and business stakeholder relations.

The #ChooseCanadianDairy campaign has a strong emphasis on how buying Canadian dairy helps the Canadian farmers who produce it and, by extension, the communities they live in. Holi-Dairy has a different tone and approach to break through with a distinctly different target market.

How (I): From the opening shots of the 30-second #ChooseCanadianDairy ad, the emphasis is on how buying Canadian dairy is good for the country. “When you choose Canadian dairy, you are choosing more than milk,” says the narrator, who explains that it helps dairy farmer families and their communities, and that it’s a product you can be proud to share this holiday season. “Choose a stronger Canada, choose Canadian dairy,” she says to close the spot. Shorter versions forego the “Choose a stronger Canada” line and emphasize the high standards of Canadian dairy farmers and the benefits of Canadian dairy, such as no artificial growth hormones.

Many Canadians want the country to be stronger and support ways that help Canada be more self-sufficient, said Nalewajek. And one of the ways they can do that is shopping local and buying Canadian dairy. “It’s really about seeing how Canadian dairy farmers represent the community, the tradition, the hard work [and] the standards, not to mention an emphasis on environmental sustainability,” she said.

How (II): The Holi-Dairy uses a more humorous approach, depicting young people stuck in uncomfortable conversations with family members during the holidays, with a young dairy farmer magically appearing with a reminder to share dairy facts that can change the conversation.

“Everyone has those awkward conversations during the holidays, but they can be particularly awkward for Gen Z and millennials,” said Erin Kawalecki, Angry Butterfly partner and chief creative officer. “They get asked all these questions about their lives by older relatives, so for this particular target it felt like a really relevant insight.”

“Our client understands that for this age group, sometimes you have to do things in a bit more of a humorous or tongue-in-cheek way for them to actually listen.”

The creative pushes viewers to a special website called HolidairyFacts.ca, which generates dairy facts to get out of an uncomfortable situation. The site lets visitors choose an awkward conversation scenario, and then receive a dairy fact to share during an awkward conversation.

Different but the same: DFC needed two different campaigns to reach two different audiences, said Nalewajek. “But there is a common thread that ties the campaigns together, and that’s our dairy farmers and the Blue Cow logo,” she added.

While Holi-Dairy doesn’t present farmers in quite the same heroic manner as #ChooseCanadianDairy, they are there (though less prominently), to help young consumers out of the awkward moment, said Nalewajek. “But it’s still brings back facts on dairy of what our dairy farmers are doing.”

David Brown