GOLD — Dairy Farmers
Thick & Creamy Yoghurt
“The Biggest Turf Job in
the Southern Hemisphere”
Entrant Company: Starcom MediaVest, Melbourne
Category: A Local Brand or Service in a Local Market with innovative media solutions worthy of international adaptation or of world class standards.
The Situation: From launch in 2007, Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy Yoghurt revolutionized the Australian yoghurt category by giving consumers a thicker, creamier everyday yoghurt. While the brand is known for being made with Dairy Farmers award winning milk and having all the goodness of the country, its weakness was that people saw it as too indulgent. This had limited its appeal and stopped the brand growing, to the point where supermarkets were reducing the number of products per store based on this perceived limited appeal.
In the past few years, the fastest growing yoghurt brands in Australia have been “fat free” products (typically 98% or 99% fat free). Surprisingly Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy Yoghurt is actually 98% fat free, but research showed that few consumers believed a yoghurt called “thick and creamy” could also be low in fat.
Our communications challenge was to break this perception and talk to consumers about our 98% fat free message in order to drive trial and expand our penetration. But we were concerned that this would detract from the indulgent country values that formed the brand’s heartland.
Insight and Strategic Approach: Although Australia is a highly urbanized nation, people still dream of the country lifestyle and often make a ‘Seachange’ or ‘Treechange’ later in life. Our original success was based on the insight that even urban people believe that country life is better for you (naturally based, unprocessed, etc).
So, rather than following the rest of the category and focusing everything on “fat free”, we convinced the client that the more the message focused on “98% fat free”, the more the media should focus on Dairy Farmers’ country origins.
Our strategy was to push the fat free message in a country way by ‘bringing the goodness of the country to the city’. Creating disruption in environments where we could juxtapose the difference between country and city life and show our pride in the product by sampling in huge numbers; after all, tasting is believing.
Media Tactics: Where better to juxtapose country and city life than busy train stations. We dominated Melbourne and Sydney’s central stations by taking every single advertising space and more. We covered the entire station in grass and created farmers’ stalls with real life Dairy Farmers’ farmers handing out 70,000 tubs of yoghurt to people going to work in the morning. The innovation of covering an entire station in grass attracted journalists from TV news and newspapers; “the biggest turf job in the southern hemisphere” was not only a Media First but an impressive news story.
The concept of bringing farmers’ markets to the city was taken a stage further with promo staff dressed as farmers sampling products in supermarkets, giving an immediate call to purchase.
To extend the message further we convinced Australia’s top TV travel show, Getaway, to create an entire show dedicated to Country Escapes; featuring regular host Catrina Rowntree who in real life married a farmer and now lives in the country. Viewers were encouraged to text to win one of the country escapes (courtesy of Dairy Farmers) and visit the online hub that we created that gave ideas for country getaways, drives, food etc..
Catrina then featured in magazine editorial talking about her ‘Treechange’ and how much she loved the country, and a branded gatefold in Country Style magazine featured ‘country getaways ideas’.
Finally, to link the idea back to the store and help save our distribution, we reminded the brand’s salesforce of the lure of the country by wrapping all their meeting rooms in country scenery!
How this Campaign may be a Template for World Class Standards:
As marketing communications move gradually away from the ‘ad break’ model and towards a future where good advertising is really good content (i.e. the main event, not just ads around the main event), this campaign provides a template for memorable communications.
We identified three principles essential in getting a message into the long term memory:
1. Cut-through by being surprising and relevant to the audience when they receive the message (The train stations literally stopped people in their tracks, and ensured that people understood the juxtaposition of bringing a piece of the country to the city)
2. Use media to amplify the brand’s USP and reinforce established memory structures (we found a way to deliver the fat free message in a way that was clearly linked to the brand’s heritage and USP)
3. Harness the power of word of mouth and advocacy to extend the message beyond those who you directly engage (the campaign tactics ensured positive talk/advocacy was generated amongst consumers, the trade and the media).
Results: The campaign doubled the number of people who knew Thick & Creamy was ‘98% fat free’, whilst maintaining our strong country heritage credentials – as measured by Millward Brown research. Despite a greater than expected fall in distribution we increased total penetration by 10% - more than double our goal. Furthermore, after the campaign, the supermarkets restored all of the lost distribution; reversing the long term fortunes of the brand.