As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

The dairy industry has a familiar question for you: “Got milk?”

Six years after the popular tagline was retired, “Got milk?” ads are back. A dairy industry-funded group is reviving the campaign, hoping to prolong the boost milk has gotten during the pandemic.

U.S. milk sales have been in freefall for decades as choices grew and consumers turned to soda, juices and plant-based alternatives like soy milk. Dean Foods, the nation’s biggest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy protection in November. Borden Dairy, another major producer, followed with its own bankruptcy in January.

But then came the coronavirus pandemic, and milk sales saw a sharp rise. Kids who were no longer having meals at school were drinking milk at home. Adults — no longer commuting — had time for a leisurely bowl of cereal. Many people were buying milk to bake and cook at home.

Unlike the original “Got milk?” campaign, which debuted in 1994 and was known for its glossy photos of celebrities sporting milk moustaches, the new campaign reflects the age of social media.

Television ads feature videos culled from the Internet of people doing funny things with milk, like opening a gallon with their toes or jumping into a kiddie pool filled with milk and cereal. In one TikTok spot, Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky swims the length of a pool with a glass of chocolate milk balanced on her head.

There will also be tie-ins with other brands like Hershey, which will offer in-grocery coupons when shoppers buy milk with chocolate syrup.

From January through July 18, U.S. milk retail sales were up 8.3% to $6.4 billion, according to Nielsen. During the same period last year, milk sales were down 2.3%.

Milk sales saw their biggest year-over-year jump of 21% in March, when buyers were stocking up their pantries. But they remained elevated even after panic buying subsided. In June U.S. milk sales were up 2%.

Sales of milk alternatives have also risen. U.S. sales of oat milk were up 270% to $132 million in the 29-week period, Nielsen said. Almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk also saw gains.

Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP — short for the Milk Processor Education Program, which is funding the campaign — said cow’s milk ticks the boxes of what consumers are looking for during a pandemic: comfort, nutrition, stability and versatility. Social media research showed a 40% increase in positive mentions about milk this year, she said.

“It’s been a really exceptional year,” she said. “We’re very focused on, ‘How do we sustain that demand?’”

Other brands have also noted that consumers are looking for comfort foods. McDonald’s said last week that it will focus on familiar menu items — not newer innovations — when it ramps up marketing in the second half of this year.

“Consumers are still looking for the trusted favourites,” McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczkinsi said.

The “Got milk?” campaign will likely run through the end of this year. Rani wouldn’t say how much MilkPEP is spending.

Rani said the organization debated a lot of taglines for the campaign but found “Got milk?” resonated the most. Even teens too young to have seen the original ads knew the line, she said.

“Sometimes the answer you’re looking for is right under your nose,” she said.

Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owner found

Father and son found miniature horse while out for a walk at JJ Collett

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Paula Law took the oath of office on Oct. 19 with Lacombe County Manager Tim Timmons. Photo courtesy Lacombe County.
Lacombe County re-elects Paula Law as Reeve

This will be Law’s eighth term as Reeve and tenth year on the county council

Rieley Kay owns both Moe’s Pizza and Cilantro and Chive which are businesses located in downtown Lacombe. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
City of Lacombe announces updated plans for downtown redevelopment

The plan would see $1.7 million spent on the downtown over the next 10 years

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

Most Read