Have you heard of the Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs? It’s a (relatively) new Government Department with one objective; pushing dairy-related propaganda.
Ridiculous, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s part of the Government’s post-Brexit strategy. A way to replace EU subsidies without actually matching them. I couldn’t really tell, because the propaganda I saw was, well, bad.
What The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs Actually Is
Ok, so maybe I’m a bit late to the game. The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs is a British, national advertising campaign, designed to encourage people to drink more milk, eat more cheese, and continue offending Japanese people with their sickly, buttery scent. It was jointly launched by the trade associations, AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK, in late 2018.
That makes this assessment a little sour, but given the campaign’s been running since August 2018, I’m surprised that the first time I actually came across it was last Thursday. Great penetration AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK. I say this because I actually spend time actively looking at adverts (I’m too cool, I know).
Anyway, I’ve only seen one advert, and it was all the way up from the top deck on the No 30 to Hackney Wick, but what I saw made me think the whole advertising campaign’s completely unpasteurised (shit).
It’s a shame, because the competition, oat-based milk alternative, Oatly, have been running some really cool print and poster ads recently.
Why The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs Sucks
I’ll start by deconstructing what I think’s wrong with the advert.
1. The Department for What?
When you read, The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs, what do you think of?
I think of Michael Gove shaking a can of whipped cream, dropping his trousers, getting his genitals sticky and proceeding to propose, “a truly scrumptious affair!” to his diary secretary. Not because Michael Gove’s genitals are scrumptious, but because I think Michael Gove probably doesn’t realise using the word scrumptious makes him sound like a twat.
Second, scrumptious makes me think of how milk doesn’t actually really taste like anything. Is that scrumptious? No, when you think scrumptious, you think of a fat person describing a cake, or their fanfiction about crushing on Daniel Craig. I’m pretty sure Daniel Craig is not milk, cheese or butter.
The name just doesn’t work.
2. An Authoritarian Approach
The concept behind the advertising campaign, is a tongue in cheek, semi-official looking, public service announcement from an imaginary Government Department.
It’s like it’s trying to play on the ‘Keep Calm Carry On’ posters that were never actually released. This is one of the strongest points of the campaign, but it’s poorly executed, and shows a reasonably cynical self-awareness.
I say it’s poorly executed because no UK Government Department would be as imaginatively named as, The Department For Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs (DFDRSA), unless I dunno, Eric Pickles, was still relevant.
It’s a cynical point of self-realisation, because the overall concept acknowledges that on a level playing field, dairy can’t compete with dairy alternatives. That’s in terms of nutrition, animal cruelty, shelf-life, sustainability credentials (minus soya) and sheer less grossness. So instead, it seems to accept that the only way to keep people buying milk is to instruct them to, they remind them how much easier life used to be when their parents bought a four pint bottle of semi-skimmed, and made them Crunchy Nut for breakfast.
3. A Coat Of Arms With Cows Like A Chicken Shop
The Department’s logo is two cows. It’s a product based on animal exploitation. I think it’s funny, but funny in the way that all those chicken shops have mascots that are excited cartoon chickens. Like the chickens just can’t wait to go spinning around on the kebab skewer.
I think this is a pretty strong reminder that milk is made for calves, and ahead of pasteurization, often full of shit when it’s first pumped.
4. The Little White Number In Your Fridge
The final thought is specific to the billboard ad I saw. The copy reads, “Milk. The Little White Number In Your Fridge For Every Occasion.”
I showed this to a couple of people, and no one I knew had any idea what a ‘little white number’ was. Sure, they knew the Coco Chanel phrase, ‘little black dress’, but out of three words, that’s two that are totally different. It’s an extremely lazy play on words that doesn’t work.
It also implies that milk should go on everything.
As if you should pour milk into your salad, your little packet of crisps, your fruit juice and I dunno, down your trousers. Maybe that’s the point, with a previously saturated market now in decline, maybe DairyUK realised that to keep profits up, they need to encourage people to use milk in new and exciting ways. Perhaps as lubricant for their ‘scrumptious affairs’.
Why It’s A Shame
But this one. It was never fresh. It’s like it came out sour.
Remember that Friends episode when Chandler decides to go into advertising and starts saying things like, “Cheese. It’s milk that you can chew.” It’s like that. Lazy copy.
But maybe I’m wrong, and this the biggest creative campaign UK Dairy producers have ever milked.
I mean, apparently it’s inspired 11% of young adults with children who were thinking about switching to a milk-alternative interviewed, not switching to a milk alternative, and agreeing with misleading statements like, “they were certain to buy dairy products.” Whatever the hell that means.
So it’s working, right?