Success Stories: MilkPEP's 'Make the Trade'
Updated: Oct 26
Objectives: The campaign's primary objective was to increase sales of fluid dairy milk. Effectiveness would be measured by evaluating sales volume during the program compared to pre- and post-periods using matched-panel household data.
The secondary objective was to modernize the perception of milk among younger consumers as a performance beverage for active lifestyles through a category-first campaign that leveraged cutting-edge technology. Here, effectiveness would be measured through consumer engagement data.
Target Audience: We targeted “Modern Milk Families,” which are led by moms aged 25-55 who are interested in sports and exercise and currently buy value-added milk such as organic, lactose-reduced, calcium-added, flavored, etc. This target is a busy shopper who is often juggling the demands of work and home; she believes that food is fuel and therefore seeks out the most nutritious options to power her family’s active lifestyle.
As she shops, our target mom takes the time to read the nutrition facts and ingredients to make sure she’s giving her family nothing but the best. She currently buys milk and keeps it as a staple item in her refrigerator, but she doesn’t consider it to be the best option for fueling her family’s activity. In fact, there is very little consideration in her routine milk purchase; there’s hardly any inspiration, information or exciting experiences along the path to purchase.
Key Shopper Insight: Fun comes from my activities, not how I fuel.
Central Shopper Strategy: Make the fueling fun with milk.
Core Idea: For consumers, shopping for milk is often seen as standing in front of a massive, overwhelming white wall containing a plethora of confusing dairy milk and alternative options.
With the number of alternatives continuously growing, it was crucial to show consumers not only that dairy milk is the best choice for their families, but also that it’s just as modern as its competitors. The best way to do that would be to align milk with a modern technology that would appeal to both these moms and their kids.
Through the “Make the Trade” campaign, we welcomed consumers into the exciting, futuristic world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-powered cultural phenomenon that lets people exclusively “own” digital assets such as videos, gifs and images. Some NFTs are rarer than others, and their value can increase or decrease based on demand. NFTs are sold through digital marketplaces (not to mention Christie's auction house) and have been made popular through popular brands like the NBA, Marvel, and Pizza Hut.
In partnership with three National Football League players and sports card manufacturer Panini, we developed unique NFT cards at various value levels (such as common, rare, and 1-of-1). We then conducted an instant-win game and sweepstakes to give consumers a chance to win the cards by engaging with a dedicated interactive microsite.
Creative Theme: The central theme was derived from the larger partnership MilkPEP had with several NFL players. The theme was reflected across all touchpoints, using dark photography to establish a sense of intensity and excitement around the program. Action shots and dramatic portraits were used on the creative materials, as well as on the NFTs.
In an inventive approach that we pioneered, we designed the NFTs to digitally rotate, thereby showcasing more imagery by using both sides of the card instead of just one.
Activation: To build the engagement and eventual increase in sales we were seeking, we targeted shoppers across the path to purchase. The activation platforms that we utilized included on-pack milk labels (via KRG Marketing Consultants), in-store shelf signage (from Neptune Retail Solutions), ecommerce websites (Instacart), mobile push notifications (InMarket), digital add-to-list apps (AdAdapted), shopper-rich mobile ads (Big Happy), digital native display ads (Neptune), and organic and paid social media.
The in-store and digital tactics were intended both to build awareness for the campaign and to serve as a direct link to the promotional microsite via QR codes or URLs. Additionally, in-store signage placed in the milk aisle and digital ads on Instacart’s assets helped drive direct conversion.
We knew that driving our “modern milk” message would require breakthrough innovation beyond standard shopper tools like digital media placement and in-store signage. We therefore turned to a more exciting tool of the future — NFTs — to unlock a key barrier to incremental purchase. Our target audience wants to be engaged in their shopping experience.
By connecting ecommerce platforms and apps that create awareness and consideration (“get on the list”) with specialty milk labels that connected the in-store experience to the digital shelf, we were able to prompt participation and subsequent incremental purchase.
Unique Touch Points: Labels on more than 16 million milk gallons nationwide featured specially designed QR codes linking shoppers to the interactive microsite, where they could register to win a MilkPEP-branded NFT.
MilkPEP’s pioneering partnership with Panini represented the first time that a digital blockchain was used in the dairy category. This gave us freedom to add innovative ideas to the platform such as animation, image rotation, and the double-sided cards. As an added bonus, we also offered consumers the opportunity to upload their own names and photos to create customized, downloadable digital trading cards.
Results: Milk sales increased by 591 incremental gallons per 1,000 households during the 15-week test period, according to matched-panel household data.
Additionally, 100% of the total sales volume lift reflected increased sales by existing buyers versus new buyers. This indicates that households already buying milk were consuming and repurchasing at a much faster rate, which was our goal.
Nearly 20,000 (19,432) consumers visited the microsite, where they played the instant-win game more than 120,000 times — illustrating the deep level of engagement and interest they had in the program. The path through which they reached the microsite was split almost evenly: 9,650 used the on-label QR codes, with the remainder visiting the URL directly.
MilkPEP: Al Dejewski, Lauren Navas
The Mars Agency: Brian Hutchinson, Lynn Berry, Andrew Varenhorst, Kecia Paredes, Erin Scott, Julie Argonis, Gina Bruenig, Bill Rehm, Dave Freytag, Scott Brisky