Case Study

Chocolate Milk


Maximize chocolate milk sales by
reframing the brand for younger consumers.


Milk sales had been falling steadily for 30 years when the dairy association did two smart things. One was the clever “Got Milk?” ad campaign. The other was “Refuel,” launched in 2009 and centering around Fizz’s word of mouth marketing campaign. One of our goals was to get pre-teens and teenagers to keep drinking milk through high school. So to convince the middle school kids who were already drinking milk to drink more, we needed a story worth talking about.

That story took shape with research study declaring chocolate milk the best drink following strenuous activity. Insights told us that to reach middle school kids, sell to high school kids. But how to sell to that surly, distrustful group? High school football coaches—the authority on what it takes to play your best.

High school football coaches across our test state of Ohio were our Influencers. We reached them with beautifully designed mailers, listing the benefits of chocolate milk. Then we met them on their turf: football clinics. We recruited NFL and MLB alumni and state championship athletes. This “We Won a Ring” gang showed up at the football clinics to chat with the coaches, sending a non-verbal message about chocolate milk.

Coaches started recommending chocolate milk to their players. Players asked their moms for it at home. It wasn’t long before media picked up the story, including ESPN, and chocolate milk sales were soaring.



475% Increase

in sales


new points of distribution added


12% Increase

Ohio milk consumption increased from 12-28% in one year.

National Media

Campaign created significant national earned media: ESPN, Men's Health and LA Times.


now co-promotes across the U.S.

Had I known this, my kids would
have drank chocolate milk.

Lou Holtz, legendary college coach and ESPN commentator

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