Dissecting milk

Dissecting milk

I’m an ‘Archers’ fan. I’ve spent 12 minutes in Ambridge almost every day for the past 20-odd years. To me Borsetshire is a real place.

18 months or so ago there were four dairy farms in The Archers; the mixed family farm of David & Ruth, BL’s mega dairy, Pat & Tony’s organic herd and Ed & Mike’s small herd supplying Mike’s own milk round. There are now only two – the mixed family farm and the mega dairy.

I do understand ‘The Archers’ isn’t real life but the storylines are being lived by farmers all over the country and the NFU is campaigning for change. Whether you think they have a point or are commercially naive they’re certainly getting our attention.

Despite the crisis at Calais, the Greek economy, the Labour party going bonkers and the fall of the Chinese Yuan, the price of milk has been all across the media.

It’s worth looking at how they’ve achieved it; adapting their approach could help you push your business up the news agenda.

Their goal is crystal clear: drive up the price of milk to reflect the cost of production.

The message is just as clear. The price of milk has dropped by over 25% in a year and the cost of a pint in supermarkets is less than the cost of production; that’s not sustainable.

Then they came up with some brilliantly creative ways to get the message across.

In an effective display of unity the UK’s farming unions came together as one and agreed an action plan, essentially a manifesto. The plan had a clear call to action for each of the four target groups – the government, the EU, retailers and the public – making it easy for the media to report.

Two cows were led through an Asda store. It’s an incredibly visual stunt, something we haven’t seen before. The pictures went everywhere.

The farmers targeted specific supermarkets, the negative publicity forcing meetings. Morrisons has now created a milk brand for farmers, giving the story yet more life.

Local farmers have been put forward for local radio phone-in shows making the story directly relevant to every region.

It’s a superb campaign; a clear goal, a precise message, calls to action adapted to each audience group and plenty of good stunts and hooks to keep the story going.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next!

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