November 20, 2023

Entertainment Over Advertising: How GALE and Milk are Winning Over Audiences

At the Ad Age Business of Brands event, GALE CEO Brad Simms and Milk CEO Yin Woon Rani shared key takeaways from their humorous campaigns and a focus on modernizing.


A Business Agency

Did you know that dairy milk hydrates better than water? This simple yet powerful fact is one of many that make milk one of the world's most remarkable superfoods. And yet with all the alternative milk offerings popping up in coffee shops, schools, and pantries, dairy milk was losing relevance. It wasn’t that people forgot milk existed; they just needed to reconsider it.

When GALE started working with MilkPEP, that was the goal: to modernize a well-known beverage to capture attention, especially among women and Gen Z, so milk could reclaim its rightful place in culture.

“Milk does not have an awareness problem. It does not have a product problem. I think it's lost its way a little bit in terms of relevance and modernity. So we talk a lot about how to modernize milk, how to reclaim milk's mojo, and make sure we are a part of culture in a positive way, not to be defined by detractors,” MilkPEP CEO and CMO Yin Woon Rani said speaking on stage alongside GALE CEO Brad Simms at the Ad Age Business of Brands event in New York.

The pair delved into Wood Milk, a comedic campaign featuring Aubrey Plaza that poked fun at the fact that just about anything can be labeled as milk these days. The campaign sparked a nationwide debate about what can be considered “real” milk, earning 2.2 billion impressions, 77 million social views, and paid performance that exceeded industry benchmarks by 805%. People who saw the socially-driven campaign could also visit a custom website, complete with Wood Milk merch.

“We created an entire ecosystem around the video, so we're not expecting folks to spend three hours with it, but we want them to spend more than 90 seconds with the content. That's about getting to the bar of entertainment, not advertising, and real funny, not ad funny, which are two bars that are extremely important to try to get to,” said Simms.

Beyond the Wood Milk campaign, Simms and Rani spoke about their overall approach to redefining milk. Rani described herself as “measurement obsessed,” constantly watching what’s working and what’s not, and allowing that data and audience response to define what the next campaign will look like.

Simms commended the Milk team’s willingness to test approaches and to shut off what isn’t working on their quest to drive true business results rather than chasing vanity metrics. He also noted that not siloing the dollars within Milk’s marketing budget has allowed them to be particularly successful.

“It’s one of the things that Yin has done that really makes our client-agency relationship modern. We're not battling over a budget here, to move it here, to put it in search here. We're completely laser-focused on those outcomes that Yin talked about and that allows us to be nimble, learn, shut stuff off,” said Simms. “That has been really transformative.”

The next iteration of GALE and Milk’s partnership launched with an anti-“milk shaming” campaign fronted by Queen Latifah, continuing their focus on reconsideration through entertainment.

“We believe deeply that if we can get people to think differently, to appreciate milk differently, then the sales and consumption will follow,” said Rani.

And they are. Milk has seen notable changes in perception among all target audiences, reclaiming its rightful place in culture.