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    MilkPEP Stepping Up Efforts to Fortify Milk Sales

    Organization launches two retail campaigns, one aimed at breakfast consumers and another marketed to post-workout fitness buffs.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    NEW YORK -- Got milk?

    For convenience store retailers, the answer is very likely "yes." However, milk consumption declined in the first decade of the new millennium, much to the chagrin of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP). Milk comprised 10 percent of all beverage consumption in 2000, but that number dropped to 9.3 percent in 2009, according to research findings, and bottled water was responsible for most of the decline.

    MilkPEP, a Washington, D.C.-based "check-off" program funded and overseen by the Fluid Milk Processing Industry, is fighting back this year with two new media campaigns it hopes will increase milk sales at retail outlets. At a media day event today, MilkPEP announced the focus of these campaigns.

    The first media blitz is "The Breakfast Project," which employs the mottos, "Because Every Good Day Starts With Milk" and "It's Not Breakfast Without Milk."

    "Eating breakfast at home is a gap that convenience stores and grocery stores can fill," Vivien Godfrey, CEO of MilkPEP, said during today's event at Deutsch Inc. in New York City. "Breakfast at home is an $8.9-billion opportunity."

    MilkPEP, known in the past for its "milk mustache" advertising campaign, has landed a big star to promote The Breakfast Project. Actress Salma Hayek is the face of the campaign, which includes a television commercial featuring the tagline: "Got milk? Nourish every day."

    "Salma Heyek is so likeable," Godfrey said. "The first ad with her as The Breakfast Project spokesperson appeared today on the 'Today Show.'"

    A huge television campaign will also be geared toward Hispanic consumers in 27 U.S. markets, Godfrey noted. But television advertisements are only the beginning of the campaign. According to MilkPEP, print ads and a large social media effort will follow. The organization said it is even launching the "Breakfast Project Command Center," which will monitor all online blogs and other mentions of milk from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, as well as provide one-on-one support for anyone who wants to ask questions about milk or dispel rumors that the beverage can be unhealthy.

    "Retailers have really done well with the dinner daypart regarding food," said Godfrey. "But we want to help retailers own the breakfast period. We can provide them with ideas about how they can do milk promotions and we will also offer coupons to support the effort. Milk is a catalyst for a shopping trip at convenience and grocery stores. On average, the 'basket' size doubles from $27 to $59 per customer when milk is purchased."

    The second MilkPEP advertising campaign will be geared toward the $3.3-billion "refuel" market, composed of athletes who need to replenish fluids or build muscle mass after workouts or other strenuous activities.

    The campaign, called "My After," promotes the consumption of low-fat chocolate milk after athletic activities and incorporates the "Got Chocolate Milk?" slogan. According to Godfrey, chocolate milk is superior to regular milk because of its enhanced carbohydrate count. Chocolate milk's protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium ingredients are other reasons it is ideal as a post-workout beverage, she said.

    "Eighteen- to 26-year olds are our core target," Godfrey noted. "We want to give them permission to drink chocolate milk again."

    Although Godfrey said the everyday athlete will be the focus of the “My After” campaign, New York Knicks basketball star Carmelo Anthony, Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and Olympic swimmer Dara Torres will be featured in the chocolate milk ads.

    The chocolate milk effort will be most heavily supported during campaigns taking place May 15 to June 30 and during the Halloween period.

    "This is a great opportunity for retailers," said Julie Buric, MilkPEP's vice president of marketing. "The refuel market is incremental to sales and represents an impulse purchase. And we will do whatever we can to help the retailer, including POS (point-of-sale) materials and banner ads." The www.gotchocolatemilk.com website also launched to further promote the message.


    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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