BC Dairy and Alberta Milk lean into weird

Who: BC Dairy and Alberta Milk, with Taxi for strategy and creative, Dear Friend for production (directed by Grayson Whitehurst), Vapor Music for audio, and OMD for media.

What: “Make it With Dairy,” a campaign that reminds Gen Z of how bad some favourite foods would be without dairy.

When & Where: The campaign launched in digital, social and out-of-home on Oct. 31, but a TV buy began this week, running until March 5.

Why: Like other milk marketers, both BC Dairy and Alberta Milk are eager to connect with young consumers who have been drawn to the large number of dairy alternatives that have proliferated in recent years.

“While previous generations already view dairy as a key ingredient for making food and drinks taste delicious, Gen Z’s didn’t have the same associations amongst a sea of options in today’s grocery aisles,” said Jennifer Woron, director of market development at BC Dairy, in a release. “So, we wanted to show this next wave of food lovers—in a humorous way—that without the incomparable taste of dairy, some of our favourite staple dishes are just plain disappointing.”

How: Taxi, as it put it in the release introducing the campaign, “dialed up the weird factor,” with a series of 15-second videos comparing different food options served without milk—a mango lassi, a cookie and cereal—to other equally jarring scenarios, like sliding (squeakily) down a dry water slide, dunking a cookie in a glass of water, and eating a bowl of nuts and bolts (like cereal without milk). All very cringe, as the kids say. (We think. Not sure anymore. Hard to keep up.)

It’s the kind of untraditional, subversive humour that resonates with Gen Z, according to Taxi. “Research showed quirky and weird is a good way to cut through so we leaned into that,” said James Sadler, executive creative director of Taxi Vancouver. The ads are the same in both markets except for the closing logo of each organization.

BC and Alberta together? Last fall, the Western Milk Pool—comprised of BC Milk, BC Dairy, Alberta Milk, SaskMilk and Dairy Farmers of Manitoba—agreed on a new governing model that would see them work more closely together on certain initiatives. “As part of our effort towards greater collaboration, BC Dairy and Alberta milk made the decision last year to work together on marketing initiatives, which is the reason for our new joint campaign,” explained Woron in an email to The Message.

David Brown