Udderly brilliant: Why Gen Zers are learning about dairy farming on Minecraft

Dairy Management turns to young interns for inspiration.

ROSEMONT, IL: Influencers are used to milking attention for all it’s worth. But a new campaign has them using video game Minecraft to show how milk gets from the cow to the store’s dairy shelf.

Dairy Management, an American trade association funded primarily by the U.S. Dairy Promotion Program, is working with four gamers—Mr. Beast, Brianna Playz, Preston Playz and DangMattSmith—to connect with Generation Z consumers.

For the campaign, which launched on National Farmer’s Day on October 12, the four gamers were sent on virtual tours with four U.S. farmers from different geographies, farm sizes and practices. The farmers gave the influencers a first-hand look at sustainable practices and their commitment to take care of their animals, land and communities.

After learning about how dairy food is responsibly produced, the gamers recreated sustainable practices on virtual farms in Minecraft, then made videos to promote the campaign.

Mr. Beast challenged followers to create “the best farm” on Minecraft, with an award of $50,000. The prize is coming from his own money and is completely his own idea, said Joanna Hunter, Dairy Management’s EVP of communications.

Preston Playz and Brianna Playz, meanwhile, posted teaser content on Instagram and YouTube.

“The influencers have gone above and beyond,” said Hunter. “Preston was drinking milk and talking about how much he loves dairy.”

Meanwhile, Brianna had such a strong connection with her host that the farmer named one of her cats in her honor.

“We got such engagement from these influencers,” said Hunter. “They found these common connections to the farmers through technology and were really impressed with the practices the farmers use, like robotic milkers.”

Dairy Management focuses on youth nutrition and lifelong health, explained Hunter, and wants to show the public how dairy farmers produce nutritious products while not harming the environment.

“As Generation Z starts to become more interested in where their food comes from and how it’s produced, and we realized the influencer purchasing power of that generation, we wanted to share the story of dairy farms and farmers in a unique way,” she said. “So we have been looking at gaming over the past year.” 

Dairy Management’s summer interns, who are in the organization’s target demographic, inspired the campaign. The association gave them a project: asking how they would reach friends with dairy’s sustainability story. Their idea: gaming. 

“We wanted to do that by using these influencers who have reach, engagement and relevance with that generation,” said Hunter.

Aside from influencers posting content on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Dairy Management and farmers are also promoting the campaign on their own social channels and encouraging followers to learn more about dairy farming at USDairy.com. 

Dairy Management worked with United Entertainment Group on influencer management. Hunter said the group wanted influencers with different types of reach to get the biggest appeal. 

Dairy management is already seeing results from the campaign, which will run until January. The videos posted by Mr. Beast, Brianna Playz and Preston Playz have garnered a collective 8 million organic views. Mr. Beast’s video alone had more than 4 million views in the first 48 hours it was posted, said Hunter. In November, the videos trended on YouTube Gaming.

The budget for the campaign was under $2 million, said Hunter.

“We have been thrilled with the results, and we are excited to expand and do more in 2021,” Hunter said.

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