OLD MILK

ClientCOOP
Category A06. Retail
TitleOLD MILK
Product/ServiceCOOP BRAND
Entrant EDELMAN London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation EDELMAN London, UNITED KINGDOM
PR EDELMAN London, UNITED KINGDOM
Credits
Name Company Position
Mattias Ronge Edelman Deportivo / Edelman CCO
Stefan Ronge Edelman Deportivo / Edelman CCO
Joachim Ewert Barrén Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Account Director
Simon Kraft Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Art Director
Anna Werkell Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Copywriter
Sebastian Brännén Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Art Director
Sofie Segerborg Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Senior Media Supervisor
Jonas Axblom Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Senior Content Strategist
Rasmus Keger Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Creative Director
Marie Wedin COOP Marketing Director
Sofia Borgblad COOP Project Manager
Anna Rasin COOP Communication Director
Ann Persson COOP Press Secretary
Anneli Bylund COOP Sustainability Strategist
Annika Ulfvin COOP Head of Digital Editorial Office
Elsa Andersson COOP Content Manager
Hanna de Ron COOP Web Editor

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Food waste is a global problem and sadly, initiatives about sustainability tend to be seen as peachy and boring. By developing a perfume smelling like old milk, Swedish grocery chain Coop turned a sustainability effort into an entertaining, earned at the core, PR campaign. By spreading Old Milk through social media, Coop made sure their important message couldn’t be missed. The initiative received massive media coverage and made food waste a hot topic worldwide.

Background

Situation Food waste is a global problem and Sweden is no exception. 38% of food in Swedish households is wasted and unlike what people in general think, households are responsible for more food waste than companies. A reason being is that people often throw away products that have passed their over-cautious best before dates, without smelling or tasing first. Brief Coop, Sweden's second largest grocery chain, known for its sustainable practice, wanted to raise awareness about food waste in an engaging way, and by doing so being perceived as the most environmentally-conscious Swedish brand within FMCG. Objectives Reach: 5 million earned-media-impressions (half of Sweden’s population) 20 news-articles 80% of all media-coverage should mention “use our senses to decrease food waste” in connection to Coop. Interaction: Create a physical interaction with the audience that could be evaluated through tangible results. Brand perception: Adding innovation to Coop’s already trusted brand within sustainability.

Describe the creative idea

If people stopped relying on best-before dates, food waste would decrease significantly. What if we could find a way to remind people to smell and taste the food before throwing it away? We created Old Milk, a perfume that smells just like milk gone bad. Making it the first scent in the world people can use as a reference to know when their milk is drinkable or not. The perfume works as an entertaining, quirky and unexpected way to reminded people to use their sense of smell when determining when a product is ready for the trash. To increase the surprise and shock factors, we packaged the new fragrance beautifully, like a premium brand perfume. By launching the perfume and by being, fun and non-preachy, Coop managed to spark huge interest around food waste all around the world, in a way that’s totally new in sustainability.

Describe the strategy

Our target-audience was Swedes age 25-55, since many are environmentally conscious and have kids, which makes their food consumption relevant to target. Many companies are reactive and focus their sustainability work on risk minimizing. As a result, the communication often ends up being preachy and easy to shrug off. Our approach was to create something unexpected and proactive that would evoke real emotion and engagement. To inspire people to smell food before wasting it, we decided to use the ick-factor. To appeal to our conscious audience, our approach was to piggyback on typical premium-perfume aesthetics in all our units and media-choices. Since the sustainability debate has a global perspective, and to increase interest in Swedish media, our strategy was a global media approach. We also wanted opinion leaders to experience Old Milk and share their thoughts and reactions on relevant social media, seeing as our audience is very active there.

Describe the execution

The first step was to create the perfume. The scent of Old Milk was created by a professional perfumer, who got the assignment to recreate the smell of too old, undrinkable milk. The development took nearly 10 months. We launched the campaign mainly through earned media and PR-activation, by sending out the perfume along with our key message to influencers, journalist and other relevant opinion leaders. Simultaneously we launched an online film to further spark the debate on food waste on social media. Old Milk became global news in no time and traveled across the borders together with our important message about sustainability, supported by smelly ads, billboards and events. All the attention for the initiative lead people from all over the world to our campaign site, where they could order their own free sample of Old Milk. 8 000 samples were shipped the first week alone.

List the results

250 million earned media impressions (compared to objective 5 million impressions 213 media articles in 25 countries 8 000+ scent samples requested via campaign microsite in week 1 50 000+ visitors to the campaign microsite in week 1 96% of coverage mentioned we should start using our senses before throwing away food, in connection to Coop– proof the campaign message was impossible to miss or misunderstand. Global interest: Samples requested from Germany, France, The Netherlands, USA, India, Australia and China, as well as Sweden Coop brand perception as a modern company that takes responsibility for the environment, up 5% in Q3 compared to Q2 (with no other sustainability campaigns running). This outperforms any previous purpose campaign by Coop. Old Milk perceived to have a clear sustainability message. Old Milk was less than half as annoying as previous initiatives, indicating we stayed clear of guilt tripping or boring our audience.