A2 Milk tries to lure in viewers with a surreal campaign

The brand breaks from the "farms and families" approach common in dairy to highlight its unique value proposition.

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A2 Milk is looking to disrupt the dairy category with the “last thing you’d expect to see” in a dairy spot.

The creative set up is a first date in which a woman is catfished, by a catfish. Realizing she’s been duped, she pours milk into her coffee as a demonstration that A2 milk, a milk varietal lacking a form of β-casein proteins called A1, is “easier to digest” than the embarrassing situation. Adding to the surrealness of the spot, each time the spot seems like it’s about to end, it continues the saga, with the catfish getting set up on a date with a fisherman, who eventually falls in love with the woman from the start of the ad. In addition to pushing the story along, each new chapter offers the brand a chance to talk about another functional benefit of its gut-friendly milk.

A2 Milk is a licensed brand under Vancouver BC Based Agrifoods Cooperative.

“This campaign was built to be distinctive and disruptive in the dairy category,” says Danielle Pearson, president of BC-based Agrifoods’ nutrition division, which in addition to a2, also produces Meadowfresh and Earth’s Own SoFresh brands.

Pearson tells strategy so much of the category focuses either on the farming aspects of their products or lifestyle driven imagery around families consuming milk.

“We took a direct approach with this campaign, connecting a2 milk as a gut-friendly, easy-to-digest milk in a way that was memorable,” Pearson says. “The last thing you expect to see is a catfish when you see a video featuring milk.”

The messaging is a departure from previous efforts, in which the brand stayed close to its U.S. team and leveraged relationships with registered dietitians and known foodies to help it introduce the product into the Canadian market. Part of its efforts were education-based and building an awareness around people self-diagnosing as lactose intolerant when, in reality, many have not been able to digest the A1 protein that is found in most conventional milks.

“Now that we have gained substantial distribution across Canada, we felt it was time to build awareness on a larger scale,” Pearson says.

The objective of the digital-first campaign coming to life across social, digital video and display, is to disrupt purchasing habits and get people to consider a new brand of milk.

Rounding out the campaign are contextual, high impact digital ads that focus on educating Canadian consumers on the benefits of milk that comes from cows that naturally only produce the A2 protein.

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Timing wise, as Pearson explains, the onus is less around the seasonality of the product and more on rapidly getting to market with the unique product claims surrounding A2 protein. A2 Milk, she adds, it is the only national A2 protein milk brand to launch across Canada at major retailers.

The target is a gender-neutral audience of 25 to 40, which prioritizes health and premium and is not as price-sensitive.

The ad spend is larger than in previous years, designed to support a launch with a new messaging platform and supporting creative.

Zulu Alpha Kilo began working with Agrifoods in September, becoming one of the anchor clients for the agency’s new Vancouver office. The agency led strategy, creative development and production, with support from The Other Shop on Quebec market creative. Zenith is handling the media planning and buying.