In December 2017, the Quebec Milk Producers Association was on a mission to convince all competitive milk brands to work hand-in-hand, in a true Holiday spirit.
The goal: to engage Quebecers like never before and increase consumption of this saturated product by 1% over a very short period of time.
The Quebec Milk Producers Association is a complex organization representing over 5,000 dairy farms, five fiercely competitive commercial brands, and over 125 different milk products. The Association’s mandate is to increase milk consumption in Quebec, while remaining 100% neutral. It never favors any commercial brand. At such, its advertising campaigns are always generic.
The Association is an active advertiser, putting to market multiple multi-channel campaigns every year. However, the Association could not capitalize on the most powerful consumer exposure to its product: the milk carton. Consumers are exposed to milk cartons multiple times a day: on the table at breakfast and dinner, at the grocery store, and whenever they open the fridge door…
The cartons are the “sacred cows” (no humour intended!) of the commercial brands. The cartons are heavily branded and show no consistency in their shapes, sizes and designs.
But isn’t there a better time than the Holiday season to show a united front? To create a historic truce which would bring together all five competitive commercial brands and unleash the advertising power of their milk cartons?
We knew it was a lost battle to get the commercial brands to alter their milk carton packaging. The production costs to modify the cartons are prohibitive, and it also goes against the milk brands’ culture which protects their carton packaging as their most valuable asset, their point of differentiation.
Our strategy was instead to create a free mobile, augmented reality application. The app recognized any milk carton, regardless its brand, size, or design, and delivered a standardized customer experience.
The app leveraged “face recognition” technology and recognized any of the 125 different cartons in the marketplace. The app then brought to life these unanimated cartons by adding facial features to it. The cartons would bring laughs in our consumers’ homes by singing funny and entertaining Holiday carols. What’s not to love? Carols-signing milk cartons, live from your kitchen table!
In the true Holiday spirit, the app engaged consumers and delivered a message of love and inclusion. Milk cartons were invited in the chorus!
The app became the truce. Technology united all five competitive brands, while getting children and parents to sign Holiday carols together! It was a beautiful way to get invited inside consumers’ homes and increase the love for the product.
The app itself was complex to create. It recognized every 125 different products in the marketplace. Each product was assigned different facial features, which made each package looks like a different cartoon. Niche products had funny thematic facial features. The eggnog cartons - popular during the Holidays - turned into signing chickens, for instance. They also had a specific song for the lactose-free milk! If consumers placed two competitive products next to the other, they would sing along Holiday carols. Many consumers created elaborated chorus made of competitive brands and shared it on social media.
To encourage downloads of the augmented reality mobile app, a sophisticated media plan was launched. All digital executions were mobile-first and optimizations were 100% automated to maximize downloads on various app store over three weeks.
At first, we launched tutorials to show Quebecers what they could do the app. Then, we made it easy for consumers to share the signing carton choruses they created.
Facebook was instrumental to the success of the campaign. It promoted the app and also provided the perfect platform for consumers to share the content they created with the app. In Quebec, Facebook feeds became invaded with carol-signing milk cartons!
The campaign was also supported offline. Giant milk cartons strategically located in key transit locations with Internet access. Consumers could download the app and make these larger-than-life milk cartons sign. Printed ads, featuring milk cartons from various competitive brands, engaged readers. The print ads sang when the app was overlaid to it.