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GMSI 585: Marketing Communication and 
Brand Management 
Group Case Study Analysis & Presentation 
Module Leader: Abhijit Chand 
Phone Extn: 2156 
Group Case Study Analysis & Presentation 
Exercise Brief 
Student  groups  are  required  to  undertake  analysis  of  the  attached  Case  Study,  applying 
Customer­Based  Brand  Equity  and  Positioning  concepts  taught  in  the  class.  All  groups  are 
required to submit a group assignment, answering given case questions, by 10:00am on 
28th September 2010, and make a 15­minute presentation, in the post‐class workshop 
on the same day. Please do not exceed the time‐limit for the presentation. 
Important  Note:  The  final  submission  date  given  above  overrides  that  given  in  the 
Module  Handbook.  All  other guidelines  pertaining  to assessment  remain  unchanged  from 
the Module Handbook. 
This  Group  Case  Study  Analysis  and  Presentation  exercise  contributes  towards  35%  of 
your  final  grade  in  this  module,  with  the  group  assignment  contributing  25%  and  the 
presentation contributing 10%. 
Group Assignment Questions 
Answer all questions. Marks are distributed evenly across questions. 
1) Answer all parts 
(a) Describe  the  positioning  of  milk  in  1993,  when  Jeff  Manning  took  over  as  the 
Executive Director of the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). Elaborate on the 
competitive Frame of Reference for milk, Points‐of‐Parity, Points‐of‐Difference, and 
target markets. 
(b) The case starts with a quote from Manning: “What could you say about milk? It was 
white and came in gallons. People felt they knew all about it, so it was hard to find a 
strategic platform.” Using the Customer‐Based Brand Equity model  and case facts, 
analyze  why  it  was  difficult  to  grow  the  Brand  Equity  of  milk  given  its  existing 
positioning and category association. Relate your answer to the concept of ‘duality 
of brand meaning’. 
(c) Even though milk had relatively well‐known benefits in its own product category, it 
was declining in consumption. What were the main reasons for this phenomenon as 
faced by Manning and CMPB in 1993? 
2) Answer all parts 
(a) How  did  Manning  and  Goodby  reposition  milk?  What  were  the  new  competitive 
Frame of Reference, the new Points‐of‐Parity and Points‐of‐Difference, and the new 
target markets? What was the basic reason for choosing a new competitive frame of 
(b) Discuss  the  role  played  by  various  advertising  and  promotional  strategies  used  by 
Manning and Goodby to reposition milk? 
(c) Do you think it is easier to grow Brand Equity for milk given this new positioning? 
Relate  your  answer  to  the  concept  of  ‘duality  of  brand  meaning’  from  the  CBBE 
Group Presentation 
Present  your  answers  to  the  above  questions  in  a  presentation  format,  highlighting  key 
points.  Use  diagrammatic  representations  (of  the  Customer‐Based  Brand  Equity  model) 
where necessary to clearly explain your answers. 
Important  Note:  The  presentation  should  not  exceed  15  minutes.  Groups  may  choose  to 
have any number of group members present as long as they do not exceed the time limit. 
got milk?

got milk?
By Douglas B. Holt, L'Oreal Professor of Marketing, University of Oxford

What could you say about milk? It was white and came in gallons. People felt they
knew all there was to know about it, so it was hard to find a strategic platform.
- Jeff Manning

In June 1993, Jeff Manning, Executive Director, was hired by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB)
to revive sagging milk consumption in California. A month later, he hired San Francisco ad agency Goodby,
Silverstein & Partners to create a new ad campaign for milk. "We weren't going to turn around a 15-year
decline in per capita in one year, but we did believe that at least for certain portions of the population, we
could flatten it out and start to move it up," said Manning. Following Manning's lead, Jeff Goodby, the
agency's co-founder and chief creative, had worked with a team of planners and creatives at his agency to
create got milk?, a campaign that became one of the decade's most popular and critically-acclaimed ad
campaigns. (1)

CMPB: Marketing Milk as a Commodity

Concerned with long-term declining milk sales, California's largest milk processors voted to fund a marketing
board that would be charged with creating advertising dedicated to selling milk. The processors agreed to
finance the California Milk Processor Board (2) by contributing three cents for every gallon of milk they
processed. This assessment allowed for a $23 million/year marketing budget. On a per-capita basis
(California's population was roughly 20% of the US), this budget approximated those of the largest national
auto, beer, finance, and pharmaceutical brands. The processors agreed that they would assess the new
board's effectiveness every three years, As their first act, the board had hired Manning and he reported to
CMPB's board of nine representatives.

Prior to the CMPB's formation, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), had for many years produced the
"Milk Does a Body Good" ad campaign. The campaign echoed the government's nutrition program, which
encouraged people to drink a few glasses of milk each day to maintain their health. As Manning took over,
consumers evidently still believed that milk was nutritious. "Ninety-three or -four percent of the people
already said milk was good for you," Manning recalled. "And 90% said it had calcium, and a fair percentage
said that calcium helped prevent osteoporosis. The problem was that the old ads didn't change consumers'
behavior." Consumers-and especially kids and teens-still considered milk to be as boring as a beverage could
possibly be. Since people thought milk was good for them but sales volume was falling anyway, Manning felt
that his first decision was handed to him: he would abandon the nutrition theme.

Shifts in Beverage Consumption

Perceptions of Milk

Historically, dairy advertising and public relations efforts, along with government programs, had helped to
build the widely held belief that drinking milk was the key to good health, particularly for children. Drinking
milk linked the consumer to the dairy farms out in the rural countryside, a space implied to be healthier,
both morally and hygienically. Later, this "wholesome" theme was expanded to include the notion that milk
was nutritious.

Beginning in earnest after World War II, the US government, schools, and doctors had all promoted milk as a
nutritious drink, a necessary component of a healthy diet, especially for children. Once each day, school
administrators had lined up children in front of stainless steel milk dispensers and gave them each a paper
cup of cool, fresh milk. The US Department of Agriculture had recommended nutritional requirements which
divided the human diet into four "food groups"- meats & fish, fruits & vegetables, cereals & grains, and dairy
products. Teachers included these recommendations into their lessons about health and nutrition. Health care
professionals like school nurses and pediatricians taught mothers that it was important to drink four glasses
of milk each day. By the 1950s, milk had assumed an important role in what people thought was a normal,
nutritious lifestyle. In the United States then, milk had been a family staple.

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On the contrary, people thought of soft drinks as recreational leisure products. Sodas, then, were in a great
position to represent many of the things that milk did not. Beginning with Pepsi in the 1960s-and then
followed by virtually every other soda-beverage makers began to associate their sweet carbonated drinks
with youthful lifestyles. By the 1970s, soda makers' aggressive marketing was helping to erode milk's place
in consumers' diets, stealing "share of stomach." People were drinking less milk, substituting soft drinks,
even when they were at home.

Flavor and Packaging Innovation

Marketers were also aggressively reconfiguring the way beverages were packaged. Drinks of all varieties
came in containers that numbered hundreds of shapes and even more colors. New, easy-open containers
were resealable so that people could drink from them with little effort while they did other things, like drive
cars, ride bicycles, and use exercise machines. Unlike milk's messy cardboard box, its competing beverages
traveled well.

Manning couldn't control how milk was packaged and he knew that it was still sold in monotonous cardboard
boxes or translucent plastic jugs. And milk's Spartan label, typically printed in a single color, likely featured
only nutritional information and an expiration date, hardly enticing draws compared to the packaging of the
new, competitive beverages. On the variety front, processors had experimented with an innovation or two,
but to Manning, lactose-free milk offered little encouragement: "Milk was white and came in gallons."

Competitors' Symbolism

Finally, Manning had to face milk's seemingly most intractable hurdle. "Milk was boring," he said. Compared
to the proliferation of brightly colored beverages in myriad, imaginative packages, milk had an image
problem. Milk was still associated with domesticity and it was apparent to him that most consumers were no
longer excited by the tamed life.

If milk had represented a domesticity that had fallen out of style, many of its new competitors had accrued
altogether different meanings-like youthful rebellion, eclectic individuality, and streetsmart fashion. The most
successful new brands each used advertising to help create this symbolism. In the 1990s, Gatorade, Snapple,
Mountain Dew, and Sprite led the way.

Snapple. With its eclectic range of "100% Natural" teas and juice-drinks, Snapple was a huge success. While
consumers loved these beverages for their innovative flavors, it was their quirky advertising and promotions
that attracted many drinkers. Snapple presented itself as the anti-corporate beverage company. For
instance, they aired poorly produced ads starring Ivan Lendl mispronouncing the drink and a whole series of
ads that featured their no-nonsense customer service manager, "Wendy," answering customers' letters.
They also hired Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, both of whom enjoyed anti-authority reputations, to hawk
the drink.

Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew sales rocketed behind the success of the "Do the Dew" advertising campaign.
The ads featured four irreverent "slacker" guys who thrived on ultra-dangerous stunts. The ads claimed, with
tongue in cheek, that Mountain Dew was even more potent and daring than these risky feats. The ads often
parodied popular culture and incorporated energetic rock music.

Gatorade. Originally formulated to combat dehydration problems for the University of Florida football team,
Gatorade became the "functional" beverage of choice. The brand was advertised using Michael Jordan ("Be
Like Mike") and purported to show how Gatorade helped the basketball superstar to achieve a high level of
performance. By the early 1990s, the drink had evolved from an athlete's isotonic to a popular everyday

Sprite. Behind their "Obey Your Thirst" campaign, Sprite sales increased steadily from 1993 to 1998. The
ads were especially popular with young consumers and told drinkers not to pay attention to conventional
marketing pleas. Instead, consumers were supposed to adopt Sprite's playful cynicism, which often featured
leading rap artists and professional basketball players which, together, wove Sprite into hip-hop culture
popular amongst America's urban metro youth.

The got milk? Campaign

Although milk sales were declining, Manning's research showed that 70% of Californians claimed to drink
milk frequently. One rule of thumb in fast-moving packaged goods is that it's easier to get current customers
to consume more than it is to convert new users. Based on this logic, Manning and Goodby quickly agreed
that their best hope of reviving sales was to prod this 70% to increase their consumption. Recalling a
strategy that his Ketchum co-worker had explored a few years earlier, Manning suggested that people who
drank milk tended to think of it as an accompaniment to certain sweet and sticky foods that they loved. To

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explain this "blank-and-milk" notion, Manning told Goodby that many people who drank milk did so with
brownies, cookies, or peanut butter sandwiches. Perhaps, Manning suggested, the key for the new campaign
could be found in this food-beverage connection.

Goodby's team fielded qualitative research and learned that many consumers indeed linked milk with sweet,
sticky snacks. Pushing further, the researchers flipped around the question: how do people feel when they're
eating something that demanded milk to wash it down, but don't have milk in the house? Focus group
respondents placed in this situation were upset, they felt deprived. They were able to convey viscerally the
feeling of having a brownie or cookie remnants stuck in their throat, calling out for a gulp of milk to cleanse
the palette.

Goodby and his team used this consumer insight as the spark for what came to be called the deprivation
strategy: rather than selling milk as a complement to certain foods, instead the strategy became to remind
milk drinkers of the anxiety and disappointment that came when milk wasn't available at crucial moments.
Working to distill this milk-deprived emotional state into a phrase that everyone might instantly understand,
Goodby coined the campaign's well-known grammatically-challenged tagline, "got milk?"

The agency created a few print ads which showed snacks like chocolate cupcakes and cookies, each with a
bite taken out of them and the text, "got milk?" Manning thought that they perfectly expressed the way
people felt about a moment when they craved milk and encouraged Goodby to pursue the "milk deprivation
strategy" for television ads.

Manning 's research showed that 88% of milk was consumed in the home. He and Goodby agreed that their
milk deprivation ads would incorporate this reality. The ads would show people running out of milk when
they needed it most, in their homes. "The whole campaign was based on somebody sitting at home thirty
feet from the fridge with the TV on," said Manning. "We wanted them to feel the pain."

Launch Ads

Goodby's team produced six ads to launch the campaign. Several of these ads created a stir. The first,
Aaron Burr, became one of the most popular ads of the early Nineties. Burr featured an odd and seemingly
irrelevant situation for milk deprivation: an iconoclastic history nut who fails to win a prize on a call-in radio
show on history trivia because his mouth is glued shut with a peanut butter sandwich.

Market research confirmed what Goodby and Manning had hoped for. Respondents indicated that drinking
milk was becoming a fashionable thing to do. "Suddenly, drinking milk was cool," recalled Manning. Manning
and Goodby were as buoyed by their campaign's popularity as they were with milk's improving sales. "The
response came in waves. The advertising community was first and they loved it. Aaron Burr won the Best in
Show award at the 1994 Clio Awards, the advertising industry's equivalent of the motion picture industry's
Academy Awards, or Oscars.

In 1994, California's milk sales increased for the first time in over a decade, to 755 million gallons from the
previous year's 740 million. Within months, the "got milk?" advertisements became famous. The tagline,
"got milk?" spawned countless imitations wherein "milk" was exchanged for virtually any product or concept.
Everywhere you looked, publicity-seekers were tagging onto the campaign by converting the slogan to suit
their purposes.

Making Milk Cool

Elated, Manning and Goodby sought to extend this dual strategy. They wanted to continue with the
deprivation strategy, stimulating people to drink milk when they ate complementary foods. And, in addition,
they also wanted to seize the opportunity to revamp milk's symbolism. Their second round of ads would
continue to push milk's image from boring and old-fashioned drink to one that was cool and interesting.

In May, 1994, they broadcasted an ad that immediately scored high marks for its "cool factor." In Heaven,
an obnoxious yuppie character found that hell was a place where giant chocolate chip cookies and milk
cartons were ubiquitous. Unfortunately, the cartons were empty. To adults confronting the cut-throat 1990s
job market, Heaven proved nearly as popular and durable as Burr.


Californians now were taken by the got milk? campaign and well understood the deprivation idea. So
Manning and Goodby wanted to broaden and accentuate the eating situations that evoked the need for a milk
chaser. Rather than treating milk-worthy foods in a generic way, they decided to co-brand with well-known

A year later Manning broadcast another co-branding ad, this time using the popular cookie, Oreos. Shot in

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black-and-white to emphasize its historical setting, Oreo Kane mimicked the famous movie Citizen Kane.
The spot featured a crusty CEO presiding over a Gilded Age board meeting, demanding better suggestions for
names for the company's new cookie.


"Teens-the 12-18 demographic-were without question the number one target of all the beverage
advertising," Manning said. "Because you wanted to get them early on, grab them, get them into your
franchise so that maybe they'd stay Coke users or Snapple users or Gatorade users or whatever." Research
data showed that consumers steadily drank less milk as they aged and that their shift away from drinking
milk began around the age of 10. As young consumers progressed through their teen years, their milk
consumption steadily declined while their consumption of other beverages steadily increased. Consumers
between 18 and 24 drank 44 gallons of soft drinks, but they drank only 17.2 gallons of milk.

Throughout the "got milk?" campaign, Goodby and Manning had hoped that their advertising would appeal to
younger audiences and increase their milk consumption. Once again, however, Manning's research indicated
that while adults loved the spots that featured children and teens, younger consumers resonated less
enthusiastically with them. "We didn't advertise to teens," Manning said.

Nevertheless, a number of ads that featured teen protagonists proved to be popular among teens.
Interrogation, for instance, was about a young man in a leather jacket being questioned by two plainclothes
cops. In November, 1996, Manning broadcasted Isolation, which told the story of a university student who'd
agreed to be a research subject and to live inside an observation chamber alone for thirty days. Both ads
tested well among teen and young adult males.

Extending the Creative Idea: Town Without Milk

Despite the campaign's popularity, by 1997 Goodby had begun to question whether the campaign was
wearing out. Focus group respondents were beginning to identify the new spots within seconds after they
began to play on the video monitor. This concerned him because even though respondents were still saying
that they liked the spots, he speculated that the recurring joke was becoming stale.

Manning shared Goodby's concern and agreed to a new take on the campaign. Goodby's team proposed a
provocative and imaginative extension: the next series of ads should acknowledge that milk deprivation was
no longer a surprise, but a chronic condition. "Town Without Milk was a whole tangent we took to try to keep
the campaign fresh," said Manning. "At my request, we tried to pursue advertising that took us to a different
place. Not strategically, but executionally."

Goodby led his creatives through a series of four spots that depicted the heartbreak of a fictional "town
without milk." Shot in black & white, the spots were conceptually more complex than their predecessors.
Research group respondents found the ads fresh and entertaining, and, especially pleasing to Goodby, they
didn't see the ads' punchlines coming.

Yet when Manning watched the way people responded when shown the ads, he became uneasy. He found
that they reacted with considerably less visceral identification than he'd observed in the initial breakthrough
ads. He agreed to broadcast the first two ads in August, 1997, and because people generally liked them, he
broadcasted the remaining two later in the year.

Triggering Deprivation at the Refrigerator

In 2001, Manning convinced the board that the CMPB needed a web site to promote the "got milk?" campaign
on the internet. The website would feed consumers interest in the got milk? Campaign as popular culture.
But, more importantly, it would serve as a vehicle to promote products with the got milk slogan. Manning
was looking for any way possible that he trigger consumers' deprivations feelings in their homes. So he
introduced a line of kitchen products that get the message within feet of the refrigerator. Goodby produced
ads to promote these items. The first advertised baby bottles printed with the "got milk?" logo and the
second promoted "got milk?" oven mitts. Subsequently, the CMPB sold a number of kitchen items, such as
baby bibs, aprons, and dish towels.

Likewise, Manning sought to time his media buys to when people were most likely in a milk deprivation
situation. He had televised Aaron Burr during the dinner hours, and was increasingly buying late-night
television time. People ate midnight snacks, he reasoned, which were often milk-friendly brownies or cookies
or even milk-dependent cereal. "We wanted to remind them, when they were within thirty feet of the
refrigerator, that it was a good time to have a snack that went with milk."

However, while he appreciated the utility of reminding consumers to drink milk when they were likely to be
eating milk-friendly foods, Manning was exasperated that his product could be tied to foods whose sales may

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have been in decline. He became abundantly aware that it was possible to lose business if people consumed
less of the other products.

"Every time cereal sales went down a point, my business went down a quarter of a point, because about a
quarter of our business was in their bowls," Manning said. "So the fact that cereal was down three percent
drove me nuts because it was taking my numbers down and it had absolutely nothing to do with milk.
Consumers were just choosing a granola bar over Cheerios. So we've tried to change that scenario."

Priming Purchase at Point-of-Sale

"Our research indicated that the only time anybody gave milk a second thought was when they didn't have
any," Manning said. "Outdoor played a role of purchase, not consumption. We wanted to change their
behavior, to make them think about buying milk before they ran out o f it."

From the campaign's beginning, Goodby Silverstein had made outdoor ads to place along high-traffic
commuter routes. Like the television spots, the billboards and bus stop ads tied the tagline to sweet, gooey
foods like chocolate cupcakes and Oreo cookies. The simple prompts were supposed to remind commuters to
buy milk when they had the chance, so that later they wouldn't find themselves deprived, like a character in
the television ads.

Pursuing the same goal, Manning had "got milk?" decals placed on convenience store floors to remind
customers to stop at the dairy case. In grocery store produce sections, he arranged to have "got milk?"
stickers placed on fresh bananas. "People loved to slice up bananas and put it on their cereal," he said. "I
thought it would be a good idea to remind them, that as long as they were buying the bananas, to buy the

In April 2000, Goodby broadcast a television spot which played this same strategic card, but which also
poked fun of the campaign's ubiquity. Everywhere summarized a white collar man's day-his morning
preparations, commute to the office, work, his commute home-showing along the way that he passed near,
under, or in front of so many "got milk?" ads that he couldn't possibly forget to buy milk when he visited the
grocer. Yet when he finally walked into his foyer that evening clutching a brown grocery bag printed with a
"got milk?" logo he realized that he'd forgotten the milk.

Targeting Mexican-Americans

The 2000 U.S. census reported that nationally, peoples of Latin American origin (primarily from Mexico,
Cuba, and Puerto Rico) had edged up to around 12% of the population. But in California, Latin Americans,
mostly of Mexican descent, constituted 32% of the population, up from around 25% in 1990. "We knew
Hispanic families were larger. They loved milk-whole milk, in fact-and they ate at home more often," said
Manning. Manning believed that the CMPB's overall strategy could easily transfer to Spanish-speaking
targets. "Everything we knew about Hispanic families led us to believe that selling milk to them at home with
food was good strategy," Manning said.

In 2001, Goodby created a Spanish-language television ad. La Llorona was based on a Mexican folk tale
about a woman who drowned her children to spite her adulterous husband. Eternally sorry, she wandered
the earth as a ghost in search of her lost children. "She's kind of the boogie man in Mexico," Goodby
explained. "The interesting thing about this ad was that the Hispanics thought it was funny." Non-Hispanics,
Goodby noted, "thought it was some sort of tie-in to a ghost movie." La Llorona also satisfied Manning's
desire to make ads that generated their own publicity. The ad received lavish media coverage because it was
the first Spanish language spot to be broadcast on Anglo television.


(1.) See lead planner Jon Steele's account in Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning (New York: John Wiley, 1998)

(2.) In 2002, 34 processing plants paid into the milk marketing program and the CMPB board comprised member representatives.
Three representatives were from the state's northern region, five were from its southern region, one was from its central valley, and
one was elected at large. Every three years, California's processors voted on a referendum to determine whether they would
continue to finance the CMPB. The Board was funded by an assessment collected by the California Department of Food & Agriculture.
CMPB members paid three cents for each gallon of milk they processed.

AEF would like to thank Doug Holt and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for graciously allowing to
make this case study and commercials accessible to our users.

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got milk?

Douglas B. Holt

Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2010 Advertising Educational Foundation

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