MilkPEP taps 'Power of 9' to draw attention of teen girls

Teenage girls are both the target audience and key drivers of the campaign that aims to increase milk consumption among this hard-to-reach group of consumers.

Company: Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP)
Campaign: Got milk?'s Power of 9
Agency mix: Weber Shandwick (PR, social media), Deutsch (advertising, media planning, and buying), DraftFCB (promotions), and Siboney USA (Hispanic PR and advertising)
In-house team: Miranda Abney, senior marketing manager; Julia Kadison, VP, marketing

Teenage girls are both the target audience and key drivers of the campaign that aims to increase milk consumption among this hard-to-reach group of consumers for whom good nutrition and drinking milk aren't a priority. Specifically, the Power of 9 zeroes in on milk's nine essential nutrients to demonstrate to teens that selecting good food and drinking low-fat or nonfat milk can help them "look lean and strong and feel confident and strong on the inside," according to campaign materials.

A nationwide search launched in February 2011 found nine teen girls (pictured above) to be "milk ambassadors" to promote drinking the beverage. They will also be featured in Seventeen's September issue with milk moustaches.

The strategy was to reach teens where they congregate on social media. The effort also partners www.myyearbookpage.com and Seventeen, in print and online, to have the nine "ambassadors" talk about milk and the nationwide competition they went through.

One important aspect, says Miranda Abney, senior marketing manager at MilkPEP, was to "get teens talking to each other about the benefits of milk." She says peer-to-peer influence of girls is key because "they will listen to each other, but they do not want to listen to their mothers."

Julianne Hough, formerly of Dancing with the Stars, served as a national spokeswoman and was used in an ad with a milk moustache to help launch the campaign. To enter the competition, about 300 teen girls sent in videos touting milk.

With guidance from Weber Shandwick, Seventeen created an in-book ad and program advertorial. It also distributed program posts through its social media channels, including video content hosted by one of its reporters.

PR support included media relations for the general and Hispanic markets, the national launch event in New York City at the Hearst Tower (Hearst owns Seventeen), outreach to semifinalists to help them contact the media and drum up fans for their bids to be selected, and promotion of the nine winners in the press.

The campaign is also targeting paid print and online media. To date, the campaign has earned 99 million media impressions.

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