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Milk Marketing is Turning Personal

milk marketing

I don’t drink much milk. It’s not because I’m a vegetarian, and it’s not because I feel sorry for the cows. But sometimes I do. I feel sorry for a lot of animals. In my mind every living creature should be free. But that’s a different story. To me, milk marketing should be reflecting what we’re drinking, and milk marketing should be focused on telling stories about the people and the animals who are producing the milk.

I get so excited when brands and companies become personal and we start to see the real people behind the curtains. And that’s the reason why I’m writing about milk marketing today.

Milk marketing in Norway

I just got home from the grocery store, and I’ve bought three cartons of milk for my family. I didn’t think much about it, until I opened the fridge, and stared at the cartons in my hand. I started smiling, and it was all because of milk marketing.

A farmer was looking at me. I could see his face. I could see his name, his farm and a cow from his farm. I think that I could read the name of the farm as well. Finally, milk marketing has turned into a wonderful personal experience. I was looking at the cow and thinking that this is the cow behind this specific carton of milk. It looked like the cow had a wonderful time, at a wonderful farm, next to a smiling man and his tractor. Milk marketing makes me want to start drinking milk again.

But, is it authentic?

A personal milk marketing experience needs to be authentic

Milk marketing should be personal. What Tine, the Norwegian business behind the milk cartons, is doing, is to give me a awesome experience. I had to take a sip of milk, just to see if I could notice a different taste.

It didn’t taste any different. But, I was thinking about the cow, the man and the farm. I wanted to read more about them, I wanted to know who this particular man was. Milk marketing has turned the drinking experience into a story, and I wanted to be part of the story. I wanted more.

But now, since I’m so excited about marketing, I started to think about, what if the story isn’t real? What if it’s just a cow from whereever and the man was a model, and the farm didn’t even have any cows? What if…?

I’m not sure if many people would have noticed. But I would have. And I would have started yelling. They would hear my voice, no matter where they would have been hiding. They could have fled the country, it wouldn’t have mattered. The point is that a personal story should be 100% authentic. Marketing is always about people, and milk marketing too.

Milk is not just milk anymore. We want the story. I even want a name for every single cow. Name the milk carton with “Thank you Betsy for giving us this lovely milk”

What’s milk marketing to you?

Is milk marketing just another boring milk carton? Or do you have an interesting story to share? This is the first time I’ve remembered a milk carton, and I won’t forget it anytime soon.

41 responses to “Milk Marketing is Turning Personal”

  1. Julie says:

    Nice article, I’ve marked it too, that milk marketing became more personal in the last few years. Decades before, on the milk boxes there were only pictures from missing people and some graphics.I really like the new way, and I think it could be authentic as well.

    • Hi Julie,

      I’ve been wondering if milk marketing is personal in other countries than in Norway. The last time I was in the US, about 10 years ago, it was all about missing people. So, there are personal stories on the cartons in the US as well?

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Julie and Jens, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Milk marketing in the US is personal too, with pictures of missing kids. That’s about as personal as it gets.

  2. Ruth Zive says:

    As soon as I saw those cartons, I found myself thinking it was all a big scam. Call me a vegetarian cynic, but I couldn’t help but think that the cows were all warehoused in a factory farm, and the ‘farmer’ is likely more concerned about hormone/antibiotic injections and cheap feed than he is about the cow’s best interests.

    Now…if my cynicism is unwarranted and this milk manufacturer is indeed a jolly farmer who genuinely cares for his animals and allows them to graze happily on the field – well then, it’s marketing genius.

    • I’m thinking like you. I’m a little worried that it’s all a huge scam. On the other hand, I don’t think that they’ll dare to try to pull of something like this. Tine (the brand) is the largest dairy company in Norway and it’s owned by the farmers. And a scam like this would ruin the company.

  3. Reese says:

    Unfortunately, I have yet to come across this kind of milk marketing. Where I’m from they just use milk cartoons to provide more information about the multinational company and some trivia about milk and why its good for us. For milk cartoons targeted for the kiddies they’d put some cartoons of cows and children and some trivia for the kids. I like this kind of marketing if it could help actual organic farmers.

  4. Bill Dorman says:

    How could you derive all that information from those cartons of milk? Could you even read what it said; it sure had some funny letters and words on that carton? Of course, if you are like me words don’t matter anyway, I do much better with pictures……..

    We have some local dairies around here who keep it homespun like it’s coming from a small mom and pop operation. I think most would not be comfortable seeing where and how our food sources are produced. I’m better just keeping it out of sight, out of mind.

    My best milk stories were back in the day when I would spend the night at a friends who lived in the country. On Sat morning, a truck would stop by and deliver their cold milk in a plain glass bottle. We couldn’t wait to get at it and put it on our cereal. Simple times indeed.

    Good to see you sir; you know milk and cheese are the same family, right?

    • Didn’t you understand the words on the cartons Bill? How are you going to manage to stay in Norway for your next vacation? I’ll have to translate everything for you then πŸ™‚

      I’ve only seen the milk delivery guy on movies. That’s something I would have loved to experience. I’m a huge fan of simple times.

      I know that milk and cheese are from the same family, but I keep my eyes closed when I eat it. That works for me πŸ™‚

  5. Rizwan Sultan says:

    Hey Jens!!
    Nice article when did you start milk product marketing friend πŸ™‚

  6. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    Well I don’t have that milk marketing thing going on around here in Mexico since all of our carton containers display the same thing, health specs about the milk and that’s it.

    However I do understand the point of your ‘milk marketing’ focus on having real stories as part of a marketing strategy, whether we like it or not, many of those stories will be only a whole fake thing.

    There is a study on eye scanning with pictures displaying male/female models smiling, etc., and while many people think it is very professional to put those in their sites, all that is happening is that the visitors actually SKIP looking at the images.

    Makes you wonder about it right?

    People can see right through images… if something is not real, you’ll notice.

    And honestly, I don’t like being fooled, hence why I hate voice overs, paid actors and everything else that is used in Internet Marketing.


    • Hey Sergio,

      I absolutely agree with you. We all hate to be fooled, and today, it’s easier than ever to understand when you are being fooled. It’s online and it’s spreading like wild fire. That’s why a business can’t afford to do things like that, because they’ll get caught. I don’t know about this milk thing, but I do love the thought of it being authentic. To me, the most powerful marketing is about telling real stories from real people (and animals).

  7. Adrienne says:

    I agree with Ruth Jens… Having seen how cows are treated just for their milk doesn’t even sit well with me anymore. There are no more cows that lives on farms, only mass production facilities which is so very sad.

    I’m not a milk drinker so although that part of it doesn’t affect me, I always have a soft spot in my heart for animals. Any kind of animal and especially for those used for other’s benefits. I wish it was like it use to be but we are in an entirely different era now.

    It was a nice thought though!

    • Hi Adrienne,

      I agree with you and Ruth as well. But, the marketing, if it’s true what they’re telling us, is very interesting. I love the fact that it’s personal and that they’re sharing a story about life on the farm. But if it’s not 100% authentic, well, then I hope someone will find out and let us know πŸ™‚

  8. Doris says:

    Milk marketing should be made authentic. In my opinion, the product they’re selling is edible. So, they should take the time to make us trust their product and not just sell for the sake of it.

    • Hi Doris,

      I agree. The thing is that marketing milk might be one of the most difficult thing to do. It should be a lot more about the animals and the farmers, and I haven’t seen much about that for the past years. But things are changing πŸ™‚

  9. Nicholle Olores says:

    Hello Jens, that sounds great to me. I hope I can do things like what you do. πŸ™‚

  10. Ashvini says:

    Hey Jens,

    This milk marketing story really looks inconsistent. The company is driving its sales by cuing in on our emotional switches. They are telling us that when we buy milk it not only remind us of simple idyllic life but also the fact that the milk is sourced from these farms.
    This kind of marketing can be really counterproductive , if one day company is shown to abuse cows to make them give more milk. On that day, we would hate the images on the carton.
    It is a problem with advertising. It actually enables dishonest claims. If we want to tell a story we better be authentic about it because that bubble can burst anytime.
    Nice business observation πŸ™‚

    • Hi Ashvini,

      Yes, and that’s exactly my point (only you said it the best). What’s even more interesting is that what if we hear about any cow that was abused when it comes to milking? And the cow wasn’t even used for this company at all, we would still think about this story when we look at the cartons, wouldn’t we?

  11. Jacob Yount says:

    I loved it. My first time stopping by Jens and if all posts are this good…then this is a good blog to find. That’s great marketing; the closeness, the reality – to me personally it’s not very important if it’s authentic for that particular company, since it is authentic somewhere for a particular farmer… it’s sorta like, true fiction. I’m like you where I like to see businesses give us a peek behind the scene, behind the curtains. I don’t want sanitized facts, but I want to see the operations, meet the people and even see things that might make us uncomfortable..but that would take some really great marketing. A good weekend to you from the North Carolina Coast in the Southern USA.

    • Hi Jacob,

      I really like this type of marketing as well. I am seeing more of it everywhere I look, but this is the first time I’ve noticed it for the dairy industry. As long as they’re telling a true story, I believe that this is one of the best types of marketing. I just love storytelling πŸ™‚

  12. James Martin says:

    I appreciate the authenticity of Milk Marketing thingy. Personalizing something could be a great way in grabbing prospects customers anywhere in the whole wide world. So, keep it up!

  13. Joseph Hipolito says:

    Hi jens, glad to see and to know about this milk marketing is not really familliar to me but looks really great.

  14. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I love milk. Always have. Milk marketing in the US got famous with their “Got Milk?” campaign showing various stars with a milk mustache in magazine ads. The marketing was to show that drinking milk is cool because it’s generally regarded as a children’s drink.

    When I was working as a lawyer, before the Got Milk ads, I would order milk at business lunches. That’s right, about as uncool as you can get. I was never one to care about being cool growing up, so why should I stop in the work world? I really didn’t care what others thought, but I would get grief from waiters. What’s even more uncool than drinking milk at a business lunch? Being derided by waiters for drinking milk at a business lunch. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Carolyn,

      That sounds like an awesome campaign πŸ™‚

      I’ d love to see their faces when you ordered milk at the business lunches. I believe that’s a really cool thing to do πŸ™‚

  15. Jack says:

    I think as marketers and business people we look for the “real” story because we notice these types of things and wonder what is going on and how it came to be.

    I agree with you that I like the idea of the personal milk experience. It is nice and it feels good to think that maybe your purchase is helping some farmer make a living.

    • Hey Jack,

      Absolutely. I love storytelling, and I am always looking for a personal relationship to a business or the products being sold. If I can find the personal relationship, I’ll end up buying.

  16. Feye says:

    I often drink milk, sometimes I think about the story behind the picture. I remember one of the TV ads, to promote breast-feeding, the ad said β€œThe milk of the dog, is for puppy; the milk of the goat, is for baby goat; the milk of the cow? For your baby?” After I watched this, I paused and think should I still drink a cow’s milk.

  17. Essy says:

    In Canada our milk cartoons are still very cow impersonal. Does that make sense? There is just a cartoon drawing of a cow on the carton. Slymarketing exists everywhere. Clever domain name by the way.

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