“Cow’s milk is now the most common fatal food allergy in kids,” warns a recently placed billboard. “Is your child next?”
If that sounds scary, how about a billboard depicting a milk carton with the picture and name of a 10-year-old, and the line, “Cow’s milk is a leading cause of fatal anaphylaxis in children"?
The latter billboard’s play on the nonprofit National Child Safety Council’s widespread Missing Children milk carton campaign of the 1980s and ‘90s proved too much for the three leading national out-of-home (OOH) companies, anti-dairy nonprofit Switch4Good tells Marketing Daily.
Those three companies -- Lamar, Outfront and Clear Channel – all rejected the ad, Switch4Good says, with one stating in writing, “Unfortunately, no creative that promotes ‘No Dairy’ will be accepted.” (Switch4Good wouldn’t tell us which OOH company penned that double negative.)
Still, the former billboard, which also contains a link to KillerMilk.com, an educational site about kids and dairy allergies, has been placed through billboard brokers at three high-traffic locations in Los Angeles, and two in Atlanta.
Switch4Good cites a 2021 British Medical Journal study showing cow’s milk as the leading cause of fatal anaphylaxis in school-aged children.
Comparing child deaths from milk to deaths from such other allergens as peanuts, shellfish and eggs, Dotsie Bausch, founder and executive director of Switch4Good, said in a release, “Most schools don’t allow peanuts or tree nuts, yet every kid is still served a carton of cow’s milk with their lunch. For some of those children, a glass of cow’s milk or a slice of cheese could very well be a death sentence.”
In February, Switch4Good ran a previous OOH campaigns in L.A. That creative, done in-house as is all of the nonprofit’sadvertising, featured an image of three ominous dudes sporting milk moustaches and the line, “9 out of 10 serial killers grew up drinking milk.”
Earlier this month, Switch4Good also placed “Ditch Dairy/Run Faster/Live Better/Ditch Dairy” billboards along the route of the Chicago Marathon.
That focus on athletes was in keeping with Switch4Good’s beginnings five years when the nonprofit was formed by Olympic and professional athletes in coalition with health professionals.
Bausch, herself a 2012 Olympic silver medalist in cycling, was one of six Olympians featured in Swith4Good’s first-ever ad, a :30 spot which ran in six markets during the closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics and in nine markets during an Olympics highlights special. That ad came from Effect Partners and Pollution.tv.