Dairy Farmers of Manitoba sharing stories about coming from a good place

Who: Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (DFM), with Humanity for strategy and creative, production by Mast Creative, media by Media 2 Go and MiQ, and PR by RB Communicates

What: “All From a Good Place,” a new brand platform and launch campaign that strives to make Manitoba consumers feel more connected to the province’s dairy farmers.

When & Where: Aside from a rebranded website, advertising is live now throughout the province, running across TV, cinema, social/digital, radio, OOH, print and transit for the rest of the year.

Why: With dairy consumption trending steadily downward in recent years, dairy marketers across Canada have been working hard to cast the industry in a positive light and attract the growing number of people—especially young people—willing to explore non-traditional dairy alternatives.

The various positioning strategies and communications vary slightly, but there are recurring themes, such as storytelling that emphasizes the farmers producing the dairy, their care for the environment, and the humane treatment of the animals themselves.

This purpose-led messaging is at the core of the new DFM campaign, which depicts Manitoba dairy farms as being “a good place.”

“We wanted to connect to Manitobans on a deeper, more human level,” said Teresa Ciccarelli, DFM’s senior manager, corporate communications and marketing. “So, we needed to tell the story of how much dairy farmers care about what they do and the communities they serve… We are sharing the stories of farmers caring about the quality of the milk, sustainability on the farm, and the well-being of the cows.”

How (the strategy): Humanity talked with farmers, industry stakeholders, employees, and consumers. “What we heard through the research phase was that there’s a real gap between Manitobans and the farmers that work really hard for them every single day,” said Ryan Hughes, Humanity’s VP, head of strategy. When people don’t understand what happens on the farms that produce their food, that leads to misinformation and misperceptions about those farms, he said.

“One example I’ll give you is in focus groups we asked Manitobans how large do you think a local dairy farm is? And the average number would be like 2,000 cows. The real fact is, it’s 150 cows,” he said.

“That gap—that misperception of the industry—I think, is what’s creating a lot of tension for people when it comes to making decisions about consuming milk.”

Humanity needed advertising and messaging to close that gap.

How (the creative): The campaign is anchored by two minute-long spots intended to share relatable slice-of-life stories about life on a dairy farm. In one, the story is told by Alivia, a young girl who gets up before dawn to work with her dad out on the farm.

In the other, Allison explains how special her morning walk from the house to the barn is because her parents and grandparents made the same walk before her. “Dairy faming is in my blood,” she says. “I’ll never walk away from it because it would be like losing a part of me. Kind of like how every Manitoban feels about Manitoba, I think.”

“Everything we do is all from a good place,” she says to close the spot.

The messaging was developed to reflect Manitoba values, said Hughes. “Which are different than a lot of parts of the country…. Manitoba is a very down to earth, very family values-first province. And we’ve tried really hard to reflect the shared values between the farmers and the Manitoba public.

And we quote: “Our intent was to capture the authentic and relatable farmer stories rooted in the pride that Manitobans feel about the place they call home… A farmers-first approach means people will be seeing a real face and hearing the passion when farmers of all ages talk about life on the farm.” — Carolyn Shaw, president, chief creative officer, Humanity

David Brown