Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Milk is Doomed

Via @Coreycore, the dairy industry has dropped it's "Got Milk" marketing in favor of a new "Milk Life" ad campaign emphasizing nutritional benefits over humor. Despite the fact that the new ad is terrible and just a little gross, I see a deeper reason why the re-brand will probably fail to convert new "milk lifers".

Milk has lost popularity in part because people think it's high in fat and calories, which mainstream nutrition tells us is unhealthy (it's not). The dairy industry seeks to confront this nutrition-based aversion head-on by trumpeting the protein found in milk. But by focusing so heavily on the nutritional dimension of milk (rather than, say, cultural heritage or taste) the industry is locking themselves into a justification scheme that will eventually turn on them.

Nutrition science is slowly undergoing a paradigm shift where the key drivers of unhealth and obesity aren't fat and calories but instead things like low-fiber carbohydrates and sugar--anything that spikes your insulin levels. As this framework becomes more publicly available and sugar becomes increasingly demonized for its adverse health effects, the fact that lactose is just sugar will become an increasingly burdensome marketing handicap. Training consumers to evaluate milk using a nutrition-and-health frame will become a disadvantage, not a clever opportunity.

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