The Verdict: Prairie Milk gets it going

The Prairie Milk Marketing Partnership shakes up its strategy with an online contest designed to get kids motivated.

Education may be key, but is it enough?

Instead of just advertising the health benefits of milk to youth, the Prairie Milk Marketing Partnership (PMMP) decided to shake up its strategy a bit and put their money where their mouth is with an online campaign that rewards youth for drinking milk in order to achieve their goals, Rob Sweetman, executive creative director, Dare, PMMP’s agency of record, tells MiC.

In late 2011, the first phase of the organization’s “Keep Going” campaign with media by Jungle Media rolled out across the Prairies with commercials showing a teen trying out different activities such as skateboarding and soccer. The first few tries result in failed attempts, but the spot eventually closes to show the youth excelling in an activity. It is accompanied with the tagline, “Milk helps keep you going…where you go is up to you. Never Stop. Milk.” The second phase launches today with a new commercial to the same effect.

The agency decided to take it a step further and launch the TV campaign alongside an online contest. The site for the “Project U” competition was created to provide a space for its target audience of 9- to 17-year-olds (with a bull’s-eye target of 14 to 15) to share their goals, obstacles and inspirations. In the end, 114 prairie youth submitted their goals for the contest and there were 3,131 votes collected in support. Three $5,000 prizes were given to the submissions with the most votes.

Further delving into the digital space, the PMMP also created “Mini Milk Challenges,” housed on its Facebook page, prizing those who complete the challenges – such as doing a cartwheel on camera or clearing the driveway of snow – with cash rewards of $25 to $100. In total, there were 168 challenges posted by the organization, with 90% of them being completed by visitors to the page.

Promotion for the online contesting was done through TV, cinema, print (in Youthink and Vervegirl magazine) , OOH (which took form as a hologram-style ad) as well as through rich and static online banners on MTV, MuchMusic, CTV, MSN, Yahoo and other ad networks targeting music sites.

The end goal of the online initiatives is to inspire youth to find ways to use the health benefits of milk to aid them in completing the challenges, says Sweetman, a strategy that the RMMP had not engaged in the past.

He adds that the advantage of housing contests on Facebook is that they were able to accumulate comments, questions and feedback from the youth. He says that the consumer response helped the agency to adapt and inform them as to how to approach the next phase of the promotion, with each version of the contest undergoing a complete creative overhaul in response to the feedback.

The next version of the Project U contest will launch on Jan. 30 and the Mini Milk Challenge will re-launch on Jan. 16 and again on Feb. 27.