Dairy Farmers pledge ‘I’m in’ for 2050 net-zero goal

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

What: “I’m In,” an integrated campaign focusing on DFC’s pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

When & Where: The campaign is live now in French and English, with TV ads, digital video and content, and influencer outreach. It runs until Aug. 12.

Why: There are a couple of key market forces underlying this one. First, the dairy industry has been identified as a significant contributor to climate change, and reducing dairy consumption has been recommended as a necessary step to save the environment.

Second, the industry—and DFC in particular—has been very interested in reaching younger consumers who have become more receptive to plant-based alternatives, and for whom the environment is a top consideration when shopping. This campaign addresses both of these factors: Help the environment, and resonate with younger consumers.

Last year, DFC joined the worldwide Pathways to Dairy Net Zero platform, and in February it committed to reaching net-zero by 2050 through emissions reduction and GHG removal offsets.

“They’ll get there by a number of practices they have already implemented on many farms—capturing carbon in the soil, preserving biodiversity, and producing renewable energy,” explained Erin Kawalecki, partner and chief creative officer at Angry Butterfly. “They do this in well-known ways like solar, but also with innovative things like turning manure into renewable energy with something called a ‘biodigester.'”

The “I’m In” advertising is the first campaign to introduce Canadians to that 2050 goal, while also reminding them that Canadian dairy farmers have been taking action on the environment for decades. “Our aim was to show the personal commitment of each dairy farmer, as well the collective effort it takes to reach their goal,” said Kawalecki.

How: The campaign points out that while dairy farmers have always cared about the environment, they have big plans to do more and be even better—including being net-zero on GHG by 2050. As has been the case for a while now, DFC is using real farmers to help tell this story.

The 60-second anchor spot opens with a narrator explaining that it “takes a certain kind of person to be a Canadian dairy farmer,” before listing some of the ways farmers are already being environmentally responsible.

“You might think reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is impossible. That it takes too much work. Who on earth would do that?” he asks, followed by a series of dairy farmers answering the call with “I’m in” to close the spot.

Most of the footage was shot by the farmers themselves. “It started as a production consideration during Covid, but it quickly became apparent that they were really good at it,” said Kawalecki. “They work with technology all the time on their farms, and use creative problem-solving to run their businesses, so I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they can film a commercial.”

A net-zero 2050 section of the DFC website opens with the large headline: “A net-zero future. Decades in the making.” The site explains what it means to be net-zero, and some of the ways Canadian dairy farmers will get there.

For creative specifically targeting young millennials and Gen Z, Angry Butterfly worked with younger farmers in that age bracket. “The Gen Z audience is more receptive to messages from people their own age,” said Kawalecki. “The assets have different music than the TV campaign executions, quicker cuts and scene transition techniques they’re used to seeing on social platforms like TikTok,” she said. “We like to show dairy farmers in a surprising format, to help illustrate that the stereotypes people have about them aren’t always accurate.”

And we quote: “It was important for us to remind consumers that caring for the environment is not new for dairy farmers, and in fact it’s one of the many reasons that our Blue Cow logo is so trusted by Canadians,” said Pamela Nalewajek, vice-president of marketing for Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a release. “Our farmers have been working for decades to farm sustainably, making many changes over time, in order to create a future for dairy that not only reflects consumer priorities but demonstrates that Canadian dairy farmers share their values, too.”

David Brown