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OVERVIEW: Milk sales in Quebec were fairly stable and the producers saw chocolate milk as an opportunity. Given the heritage of milk, it's easy to imagine the warm and wholesome campaign that would result. And you would be wrong! Read on to find the dark secret of this success.

SITUATION ANALYSIS: Milk consumption falls off rapidly after childhood, because it's no longer cool, and there are many other choices. Chocolate milk could perhaps make a dent in the trend, especially with 12 - 17 year-olds. But it would take something special. The objective was to raise chocolate milk consumption in Quebec, and outpace the rest of the country. The media/promotion budget was just $200,000-giving roughly a 1% share of voice in the cold beverage market.

STRATEGY & INSIGHT: 12-17 year-olds are a problem audience because they are the first group to move away from milk. But they are an opportunity, with immense long-term consumption value, if they can be retained. The big issue was their perception of chocolate milk. It had childlike associations, and very little to make it cool when compared to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc. Traditional advertising would not solve this. But what about getting the audience to destroy the associations for themselves?

EXECUTION: The 6-week campaign began in summer. Four pairs of people drove through Quebec on Choco scooters, putting up 30,000 posters, and distributing 80,000 polaroids. Apparently, lovable chocolate animals were going missing-and people could visit mechantchoco.com to help find them. Meanwhile, two TV spots showed a horror movie character cruelly transforming the animals into chocolate milk. The ads were signed, “Chocolate Milk, it’s frighteningly good." The website then completed the story, but not in the way you might expect. When teens went to the site they found that saving the animals was no longer on the agenda. Instead, they could create chocolate milk by crushing, chopping, melting, or microwaving them. They could also download the "horror" ads and get a chance to win one of the 4 Choco scooters.

RESULTS: Chocolate milk volume was up 17% over the year-double the growth rate in the rest of the country. The incremental volume was 1.75 million litres, and this was worth more than $2.5 million at retail for a $200,000 advertising/promotion investment. The TV spots won at the Créa awards in Quebec. The web site also won at Créa, plus it got the “Coup de Coeur du Jury” and a Grand Prize at the 2005 Boomerang Awards.

CAUSE & EFFECT: This was deduced by comparing the Quebec results to the rest of Canada, and by examining the timing of when the growth occurred. (Details were provided.)

FÉDÉRATION DES PRODUCTEURS DE LAIT DU QUÉBEC
Nicole Dubé, Marketing director

BBDO MONTRÉAL
MARTIN BEAUVAIS / LAURENT PRUD'HOMME,
Creative Directors
NICOLAS DION / LAURENT PRUD'HOMME,
Copywriters
MARIE-CHRISTINE CÔTÉ / MARC GUILBAULT /
MARTIN BEAUVAIS / JENNIFER VARVARESSO,
Art Directors
LYNE CLERMONT, Account Director
MARTINE CYR, Typographer
MICHÉLE BLANCHETTE / NATHALIE GAUTHIER,
Producers
MARTIN LESSARD, Realisation / conception
CINÉLANDE, Production house
GUILLAUME DE FONTENAY, Director
ANDRÉ TURPIN, DOP
JEAN-FRANÇOIS TALBOT, Editor
AUDIO Z, SOUND Z, ÉTIENNE PROULX, Special effects