Gale and MilkPEP Dive Into Branded Entertainment by Unleashing Vanessa Bayer on a Farm

The humorous effort goes behind the scenes of modern dairy farming

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Dairy farmers have made many efforts to get more people interested in milk products, from the genius “Got Milk?” campaign to the recent “Wood Milk” effort with Aubrey Plaza.

Now, the Milk Processor Education Program (better known as MilkPEP) and agency Gale are continuing to educate and entertain, enlisting former Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer to play an outsider looking deeply into the daily workings of a dairy farm to find out more about where milk comes from.

The effort from U.S. dairy farmers, processors and importers recently debuted exclusively on the Roku Channel in the U.S. The humor-filled five-part documentary series takes viewers behind the scenes at Beck Farms, a fourth-generation dairy farm in upstate New York.

“Dairy Diaries” follows Bayer as she dives into the unfamiliar world of dairy farming, giving viewers an up-close look at the realities of modern dairy farming and the innovative practices shaping the industry’s future.

From the journey of milk from farm to fridge to how dairy fits into a more sustainable world, the show delivers laughs with an exploration of today’s dairy farms.

“As someone who consumes more dairy, and specifically cheese, than I’d like to admit, I wanted to learn about how milk gets from the farm to the store,” said Bayer in a statement. “I was particularly interested to hear how the industry is working to become more sustainable. … While I didn’t get as much free ice cream as I had hoped, I learned a lot, and I think the audience will as well.”

MilkPEP and Gale chose Bayer because they wanted people to be entertained as well as educated, according to Miranda Abney, senior director of marketing at MilkPEP.

“When we got to Vanessa, everyone just really loved her as an idea. And when we started talking to her team, they seemed really invested in the project,” Abney told ADWEEK. “She’s naturally curious, which makes her perfect for this kind of fish-out-of-water scenario. She’s earnest, she’s inquisitive, she’s hilarious and also very endearing.”

Limiting environmental impact

Beck Farms was chosen after an extensive interview process with different farms, and Abney said that since farmers rarely get to take vacation, it was difficult to find people who had the capacity to support a multi-day production.

The Becks were enthusiastic to take part in the series, opening up their operation to the show. The farmers were a bit thrown off by some of Bayer’s questions, but Abney said that made for good comedy.

Some of the things uncovered in the shoot included highlighting innovations in new products, technologies and on-farm practices that will contribute to healthier people, planet and animals such as the closed-loop process of using their cows’ manure to grow their feed on-farm, which reduces carbon emissions. Innovative dairy farming practices have significantly shrunk the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk, requiring 30% less water and 21% less land, cutting its carbon footprint by 19% compared to 2007.

“We loved sharing our farm with Vanessa and are excited to share it with the world,” said Tyler Beck, owner of Beck Farms, in a statement. “We hope ‘Dairy Diaries’ shows the great pride we take in our responsibility to nourish families with delicious dairy foods.”

Abney said that no alterations had to be made to the documentary because of the recent outbreak of avian flu, which has spread to cattle in some areas of the country.

A first with Roku

This is the first time the Roku channel and MilkPEP have worked together, so they will see how the series performs and then decide if other channels or platforms might be right for it.

Both Gale and MilkPEP like to look for opportunities to come to them, which is how they ended up working with Aubrey Plaza and Queen Latifah on recent campaigns, as well as an earlier docuseries, “Running Sucks.”

“We try not to be too fixed in approaching it, because you never really know how it’s going to unfold. And you never really know what the best way to get it to the audience in the community is. This is just a demonstration of how I believe milk has changed how they view advertising as the consumer has changed,” Brad Simms, CEO and president at Gale, told ADWEEK.

MilkPEP hopes the docuseries helps educate people about what modern dairy farmers do on a daily basis.

“We just want people to understand that dairy farmers really care deeply for their animals and for the planet, because that’s really what their business depends on to be successful,” said Abney.

Simms said he knows that modern consumers are extremely aware and intelligent around topics like sustainability.

“We’re just trying to ensure the facts are out there. This is not about trying to convince someone or lecture them. It’s about putting the facts out there and letting the consumers form their own opinions,” said Simms.

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