NotCo, a cutting-edge food-tech company, came to us to promote the launch of their new plant-based milk alternative, NotMilk™, which is unlike any other milk on the market. Developed using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to replicate the molecular structure of cow’s milk, NotMilk™ is made from plants, but pours, stirs, froths, slurps, and tastes like cow's milk. To celebrate this incredible verisimilitude, we created four custom spots, and ancillary social media content, for our campaign: “It’s Milk. But Not”.
Our primary goal for this campaign was to convey just how mind-blowing it is to taste NotMilk™, and realize it’s the closest you have ever gotten to dairy milk! We set out to do this by contrasting the familiar white appearance of normal milk with a vibrantly colorful color palette, dynamic visuals, and lots of attitude, and then complement this world through the unexpected appearance of stunning visual effects. We wanted to show how a person’s entire conception of the world can shift in an instant. Our four hero spots each feature a different character, ranging from a grandma, to a yogi, to a young millennial, to a kid, reacting with mind-blowing joy as they taste NotMilk™ for the first time and experience the epiphany: “It’s Milk. But Not.”
To implement our strategy, we integrated hyper stylized art direction, color theory, unique casting choices, and jaw-dropping CGI visual effects. While each spot purposefully stands alone to reflect a specific character type and product usage, they all share the same narrative structure, creating a sense of consistent messaging and unified aesthetic across the whole campaign.
Each spot starts by introducing a character in a medium shot, in the midst of preparing a delicious beverage or dish using NotMilk™. We cycle between quick jump cuts of interesting portraits of our character and beauty inserts of their creation, rhythmically building anticipation while also keeping the viewer slightly off-balance. This pays off in a climactic reveal as we cut to our character, framed in a medium close-up, tasting NotMilk™ for the first time. Instantly, the camera dollies backward as time slows to a crawl, heightening the moment as the character’s mind-blowing reaction becomes rendered literally on screen. A photorealistic, CGI NotMilk™ liquified crown erupts from the character’s head as time ramps down to extreme slow-motion, and as the camera reaches a wide frame to reveal the full explosion and other related objects orbiting the head of our stunned character, additional “easter egg” design elements are revealed in the shifting liquid mushroom cloud. We end on a tight pack shot that heroes the product, which is joyously messy and unapologetically imperfect, as our character continues to relish their NotMilk™ experience in the background.
Each character brings unique attributes and personality traits that represent different consumers, while also demonstrating different uses for the product. A young millennial uses a foamer to froth a perfect iced latte, while a wildly styled Grandma parties with her freshly baked muffins. A kid scarfs a big bowl of his favorite cereal, while a yogi whips up a healthy green smoothie, including the finishing touch of NotMilk™. The core message: no matter who you are, or what you use it for, NotMilk™ fits your personality and surpasses cow’s milk as the perfect veggie-based alternative.
When you think about the taste of milk, a human mind would never think that a combination of pineapple and cabbage could recreate the taste of milk, and explaining it to consumers might be tough given what consumers know about the milk alternatives world. Executing the "mind blowing" concept within “It's Milk. But Not” creative idea in such a clear, visually appealing way got consumers to love our brand right from the start - engagement rates on the campaign aired on social media were 3x what the market average is, and just after a couple of weeks of sales at Whole Foods Market nationally we were already seeing stores getting out of stock with consumers looking to try NotMilk™.
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