Customer-obsessed marketing

Got Milk (carton advertising)?

Shar VanBoskirk
Vice President, Principal Analyst
December 17, 2007

I got an email last week from a marketing firm that was different than most of the briefing requests I get.  This firm, Milk Media, partners with dairies to place branded advertisements on the back of the individual-sized milk cartons served at lunch time in schools around the country.

Interesting to me, is that the email (see below) calls out how similar companies have been chastised by the FTC for marketing to kids in a controlled environment.  Milk Media, it claims, is an a-ok marketing environment because milk promotes a healthy lifestyle.

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I wanted to take just a moment of your time to introduce you to MilkMedia and their unique niche marketing with Milk Rocks!

In a nutshell, MilkMedia, through their partner dairies, has the ability to promote musical artists/entertainment figures on up to 24 million branded cartons of milk per day sold in schools (see carton mock-up below). That is the sum total of milk sold daily in more than 90,000 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide (a clearance of approximately 95% of all US schools). Additionally, Milk Rocks! Is able to place posters in lunchrooms in 20,000 middle and high schools across the country. Combined, these two outlets deliver billions of impressions in a venue that previously has been difficult, if not impossible to reach.  Additionally, Milk Rocks!, with the blessing of schools, delivers to students, branded book covers and other fun, kid-friendly materials.

I’m sure you are aware of the current state of marketing to kids with Coke and dozens of others having been issued FTC subpoenas. By comparison, Milk Rocks is in the clear and will remain so, as their promotions area directly tied to a healthy lifestyle and nutrition for kids. In fact, it is the only in-school promotional channel that meets COPPA and CARU guidelines.

Past and present companies on board with Milk Rocks! include Disney, ABC, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, Fox, Hasbro, Cranium, Ubisoft and Vivendi.

I look forward to discussing Milk Rocks! with you in more detail.

All the best,

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I have mixed feelings about this, to be honest.  I’m trying to remember if milk cartons had ads on them in my day?  Maybe…but something about this makes me feel like I need to wash my hands.  I know we are all overexposed to ads, but is planting an ad for a pop star or The Cartoon Network in front of a group of kids that has no other place to buy their lunchtime beverage necessary?  I mean, from an ethical perspective.  Convince me how this is a good idea…

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