The new effort by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), which accounts for about 10% of national milk sales, focuses for the first time on teenagers with a music and social networking strategy touting the healthful benefits of milk. The effort also includes a separate Hispanic campaign with a mythic theme.
The campaign, via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, introduces a fictive, milk-enhanced rock star, "White Gold," who sings about his love for the (other) white stuff. The star, with a perfect physique, calcium-enhanced hair, nails and teeth, plays a guitar filled with milk and is backed by the "Calcium Twins" on drums and bass.
All of which happens, initially at least, on a White Gold band Web site WhiteGoldisWhiteGold.com, to be launched soon, and music video pages on sites like MySpace.com/whitegoldiswhitegold, YouTube and similar sites. The effort is replete with "hit" single "One Gallon Axe," a song detailing White Gold's evolution from undernourished waif (sorry, Angus) to Herculean guitar king. The second phase breaks this month, with TV spots to hit all California markets.
Steve James, CMPB executive director, says the band site will have behind-the-scenes footage, music videos, biographical tidbits and other live-action features.
He says the effort, which will run at least through the year, will include contests, "maybe around getting your guitar solo on the White Gold site, a battle of bands to join the group for a virtual guest spot.
"We are going to see how many possible offshoots we can come up with," he says. "We feel that it's really almost limitless in terms of where we can take it."
Paul Charney, creative director at the San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, says the goal is to establish the band and music as tongue-in-cheek. "We started out with five real songs and created music videos with singles and ultimately, a full album," he says.
He added that the campaign will include print ads in youth and music magazines. "I think at this point we are going to let it happen a little organically. We are seeding it with certain Web sites--some music-related, some that scour the Web for weird, wacky things." He says there will also be banner ads.
Charney says that since last Monday, when the site went live, there have been some 100,000 views on YouTube "without us advertising it at all."
The campaign is matched by a Hispanic market effort that includes TV spots called "Leyendas" that comprise one featuring an Elfo and one a Bruja.
The 30- and 60-second ads, via Long Beach, Calif.-based Grupo Gallegos, show a witch on a broom chasing frightened children--part of a monthly ritual. She discovers a glass of milk, drinks it and is transformed into a good person. Tag: "The calcium in milk reduces PMS symptoms." The other spot, featuring an elf, promotes milk as a sleep assistant.
In addition to being the largest milk-consuming state in the nation, California--per James--is about to surpass Wisconsin as the No. 1 dairy producer in the U.S. The market, however, is being squeezed by the proliferation of fortified beverages, particularly among teenage consumers.
"Things like fortified waters didn't exist a couple of years ago," he says. "Still, we are holding our own; given the competition and rather large spike in dairy prices last year, the fact that consumption remained flat is quite an accomplishment."