As soon as I read the words, the jingle is in my head. “Milk it does a body good.” It’s a wildly effective earworm. I can’t get away from it. If you’re as old or older than me, maybe it’s playing in your head now too. You guys—this milk campaign has not aired in over 25 years!
That jingle was paired with value messages about the vitamins and strong bones. Despite the stickiness of the jingle, it wasn’t selling enough milk. The California Milk Processor Board contracted Jon Steel of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to try and help. Steel’s research revealed an emotional connection between consumers and milk—especially when consumers were deprived of milk. So, the new campaign was to be about running out of milk. They decided to call it “got milk?” You’ve probably heard of it, because it remains to be one of the most iconic ad campaigns in history.
In one of the earliest story ideas for the campaign, a cookie truck is in fast pursuit down the highway. It is chasing after a milk truck. As it approaches the milk truck, you see that the driver of the cookie truck has a mouthful of cookies, and he has to get some milk to wash them down.
Most of us can immediately relate. We can picture the experience of eating something that absolutely has to be paired with milk, and how unsatisfied we would feel without that pairing. Remember, this is coming just after a campaign that touted the health benefits of milk. Now, all of a sudden, milk is not only talking about cookies, they are partnering with Nabisco to show that milk and Oreos are like peas and carrots.
Fast Company’s article, Got Milk? How the iconic campaign came to be, 25 years ago provides a deeper dive into the inception and evolution of the got milk? campaign.
As small business owners, we are driven to amplify the value our products and services provide, and that’s important. For milk, that’s the vitamins. But our customers, at least on a visceral level, are seeking great experiences. It’s not always easy, formulaic, or intuitive to bring forward the stories that make customers crave the great experiences we provide. But those are the cookies, and they are underrated differentiators.
In this blog series, we explored the success Trader Joe’s generates by providing great experiences in their stores—creating fans, not just repeat shoppers. We looked at the epic rise of AirBnB as they used high quality professional photography to help customers visualize the great experiences awaiting them at rental properties. We discussed the power of experience-based storytelling, compared to touting the value of a product, with the milk industry.
Do you find yourself challenged to differentiate your business from others offering the same product or service at a similar price? The unique experiences you create and amplify through visuals and stories are your opportunity to appeal to a distinct audience and make them your fans. Bruck Marketing can help. Reach out for a consultation today.