What is Milk?

Milk PEP


The Mission: Communications framework for increasing milk consumption.

Our Approach: Understand milk through the lenses of motherhood and family.


VLUU L200 / Samsung L200Milk consumption in the US has been tapering at an increasingly early age as other beverages find foothold in children’s beverage repertoires. Milk PEP, a marketing board funded by US milk processors, wanted to explore the possibility of targeting moms in their messaging about milk.




Develop an effective communications framework that reinvigorated how we talk and think about milk.

What we discovered

13-17 lover milk5What if we didn’t think of milk as cold, white and in a tall glass?

Historically, milk has been the beverage equivalent of the sea we swim in — a default, orthodox but unremarkable beverage. But, if in the past milk was seen as an unquestionable good, that is no longer the case. While for milk lovers milk is an elixir, a magical mix that makes most things better (think cake swimming in a bowl of milk or its capacity to ‘grow’ children), for others milk’s benefits are often substitutable — its vitamins, calcium and protein can be found elsewhere.

We also discovered poignantly and incontestably that milk shouldn’t tell moms what to do! Life as a mom in the US can be a fraught experience. Milk should not add to the burden. Rather than reinforcing an “ought”, what if communications emphasized the pleasures of milk? What if we called out the magic of milk? What if we didn’t think of milk as cold, white and in a tall glass? But instead introduced additional and alternative semiotic reference points for what milk ‘is’ or could be?

By reframing the codes of milk and emphasizing its contemporary relevance (isn’t a latte truly a milk drink?) as well as its social, emotional, and taste pleasures, we found a way to make milk be part of a solution, not a burden, for moms.