Most urban millennials, who have become far removed from the farm, don't really have a sense of where their food comes from, especially when it comes to dairy. While millennials don't think they consume much dairy, it's the foundation of the things they love.
With this decrease in dairy's perceived relevance in millennials' lives, sales are on the decline, and reconnecting millennials with dairy is challenging. They are inundated with endless product choices, conflicting science claims, and misconceptions about dairy farming practices. Helping them discover the role of dairy in their lives requires reconnecting them with the people on the farm who produce the products they love.
Insights from an Edelman study with an online community of millennials helped shape our campaign:
1. Consumers generally respect and trust dairy farmers but lack knowledge about farmers' values and how those values impact practices.
2. Consumers seek transparency to better understand where their food comes from.
Additionally, 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer and Brandshare findings revealed millennials value industries that share their interests, particularly sustainability, and make a positive impact in the world.
We strived to:
Build dairy's relevance by raising awareness that dairy farmers share millennials' beliefs on the issues of sustainability and health and wellness
Turn millennials' trust into advocacy by reconnecting them with the farmers who produce the foods they enjoy, and demonstrating the relatability of dairy farmers and relevance of their products
To give millennials reasons to rethink where their food comes from and dairy's role in their lives, we needed to reconnect them with the farmers who produce the foods they love and illustrate the values they share. We could not rely on a one-way dialogue to change their hearts and minds. We had to engage in their perspective and develop a compelling, multimedia campaign that offered seamless integration across platforms and devices where they are already consuming content.
So we created a unique cultural exchange and welcomed millennials onto dairy farms to walk a mile in farmers' boots and learn more about where dairy comes from. We then invited farmers to spend a day in the lives of young urbanites to discover more about the people who consume the products they produce.
Created a breakthrough video series: We developed a two-part video series, which was also supported by 26 supplemental videos and editorial content to further tell our cast's stories – all of which were created to appeal to our millennial target.
Threw open the industry's doors through a nationwide casting call: We gave Acres and Avenues fans an opportunity to apply to be on a future episode. That helped us harness the excitement of our biggest fans, and it showed everyone the dairy industry encourages interest from consumers.
Offered a seamless consumer experience at AcresAndAvenues.org: We developed a responsive landing page to house all video and editorial content, our casting call submission form, and content from our media partners to create an integrated consumer destination for all our promotions.
Reached millennials through content partnerships with Huffington Post, Brit + Co, and Mashable, and targeted distribution via AOL: We partnered with media partners relevant to the content of our series – Huffington Post, Brit + Co, and Mashable – and developed sponsored content tailored to their millennial readers, which helped us reach our target audience where they are already consuming media. We also worked with AOL to syndicate our episodes on websites across the AOL network that millennials are already visiting regularly.
Widened our reach with paid distribution: We partnered with DMI's on-site brand Newsroom to sustain consumer engagement through real-time conversations across all social platforms and to further distribute our content through paid social, search and native syndication campaigns, all of which were optimized throughout based on insights from ongoing monitoring efforts.
Leveraged our unique assets – "farmers and their stories" – to earn coverage and introduce Acres and Avenues to new audiences: We secured consumer and trade media coverage, locally and nationally, by using our farmers' and millennials' unique stories and exclusive interview opportunities as assets.
Activated the industry to amplify our content: We also empowered our most trusted experts – dairy farmers – to communicate with consumers on social media to answer questions and counter activists in a positive way.
Objective: Turn millennials' trust into advocacy by reconnecting them with the farmers who produce the foods they enjoy, and demonstrating the relatability of dairy farmers and relevance of their products.
10.6K shares of Acres and Avenues content on social media and 21K social actions (shares, likes, comments) on our owned channels
We rallied the industry to amplify our content, and 46 industry partners shared Acres and Avenues content
In a survey conducted by AOL to measure attitudinal shifts among millennials after viewing our first episode about sustainability, the results showed our content made an impact:
76% of viewers said they would be likely to purchase dairy
65% agreed with the statement that "farmers share my beliefs and values" – 12% higher than the control group
81% said they feel more positively about dairy farmers and their work; 81% also said they were more familiar with the dairy industry – 38% higher than the control
78% agreed with the statement that "farmers are committed to environmental sustainability" – 21% higher than the control
Objective: Build dairy's relevance by raising awareness that dairy farmers share millennials' core beliefs on the issues of sustainability and health and wellness.
5.3M video views and 64M impressions across all channels
99K page views and 10M impressions on our media partnerships
36 media placements contributed more than 18.7M impressions
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