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Another Cash Cow?: $55-Mil. Milk Campaign Put to Vote By Jim Kirk with Alison Fahe

The Milk Industry Foundation will hold a referendum among processors in October to okay a $55-million fluid milk consumer educatio

If the referendum passes, a 20-member board will decide whether the program will be handled by Bozell/N.Y., which two years ago was selected for a similar MIF-sponsored program, although spending never materialized.
Since then, Bozell has been working with the MIF to help draft a new education program to take before Congress. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law two weeks ago.
The new bill amends the original 1990 law, which authorized a processor-funded fluid milk consumer education program, by exempting processors selling less than 500,000 pounds of fluid milk per month. According to MIF officials, the exemption was important because it was believed small processors would vote against the program.
Many of the smaller processors already pay a 15 cents per hundredweight assessment for producer promotion programs through the National Dairy Board and the American Dairy Association. Ironically, both of those groups decided earlier this year to consolidate their programs and are currently reviewing agencies for their $50-million fluid-milk program.
Two years ago, Bozell beat out both DDB Needham Chicago and Ketchum Advertising/Pittsburgh for what was then supposed to be a $110-million program through the MIF.
While there are no indications Bozell’s position with the MIF is in jeopardy, the board will have the ultimate decision on the campaign and the agency. ‘It will be clearly up to the board to decide what they want to do,’ MIF vp Bill Tinklepaugh said last week. ‘We will see how the board feels about the relationship (with Bozell). We don’t want to preempt anything.’
If the new program is passed, $55 million would be spent during a 15-18 month trial program. Each processor would have to contribute 20 cents per month for every 100 pounds of milk produced. The assessments for the money would begin in January or February.
According to Tinklepaugh, the new program, unlike programs tied to the National Dairy Board and American Dairy Association, would target people who have stopped drinking milk entirely. The ad focus most likely would target third party professionals, such as physicians, who would be the most likely people to relate the benefits of milk to consumers.
‘It will have a definite education aim,’ Tinklepaugh said. He also said print would make up, ‘a major portion’ of the ad effort.
Per capita fluid milk consumption has declined 6% during the last decade, resulting in what the industry terms as a billion-plus dollar lost sales opportunity. The industry blames the loss on consumer confusion. More than half of adults older than 35 have entirely stopped drinking fluid milk.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)