SaskMilk got its start in 2010 as a marketing board, representing Saskatchewan dairy producers. For years, the SaskMilk’s focus was advocating and lobbying for the province’s dairy industry.
However, in 2018, the organization decided to raise the profile of Saskatchewan dairy products with consumers. SaskMilk needed a way to reach consumers to educate them about local dairy products in a meaningful way that would resonate. “Until then, we had relied on the national marketing support of Dairy Farmers of Canada to educate and inform consumers,” says Chelsea Wilcoxen, marketing assistant at SaskMilk. “However, we decided we needed to do more at the local level.”
SaskMilk began to explore options and set up a meeting to discuss what Directwest could offer to help get the message out to the public. “Directwest’s digital billboard network offered SaskMilk a unique opportunity to reach Saskatchewan consumers,” says Trish Wrishko, media specialist at Directwest. “Our digital billboards, located across the province, were the perfect fit for the messaging SaskMilk had in mind. Plus, they are flexible and easily changed as campaign messages are adapted.” Currently, Directwest has 80 billboard ‘faces’ in 23 markets across the province. “You can find billboards in the province’s major centres, with multiple boards in cities, plus more rural centres, ensuring that your message gets out to the people who need to see it,” says Wrishko.
SaskMilk began their ongoing billboard marketing campaign in 2018 and have not looked back since. Their original goal with the campaign was to teach consumers that Saskatchewan dairy products are nutritious, wholesome, quality foods produced right here, and are easily found by looking for the Blue Cow Logo. The campaign was so successful that it also caught the attention of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the national organization that represents dairy farmers across the country.
Changing with the Times
However, things have changed since the billboard campaign began, and the Directwest solution was able to change creative as messaging needed to shift – and fast. “Directwest digital billboards can be easily changed, which was perfect for us,” says Wilcoxen. “We could test and modify creative messages as needed and switch direction quickly.”
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted SaskMilk and their communications, and Directwest was there to help SaskMilk get out new messaging to consumers. “We were able to adjust SaskMilk’s campaign to inform the public on important initiatives such as their support of Saskatchewan food banks with much-needed donations as the pandemic took hold,” says Wrishko.
SaskMilk was also able to adjust their creative as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) entered into force in July 2020. The new trade agreement that replaced NAFTA allows American dairy products to enter the Canadian market for the first time. “We adjusted our creative once again to promote our local dairy industry and highlight how easy it is to identify Canadian dairy at the grocery store by looking for the Blue Cow logo,” says Wilcoxen. “This creative helped us promote local producers during the pandemic and teach consumers how to identify Canadian dairy. It was a win-win.”
Success for SaskMilk
Overall, SaskMilk is pleased with the performance of their digital billboard campaign with Directwest. “We have gotten good feedback from our various creatives, and the messaging is sticking with consumers,” says Wilcoxen. “We are achieving our goal of educating the public about Saskatchewan dairy products as a nutritious, locally produced food, and how to find it at the grocery store.”
SaskMilk also has high praise for the creative team at Directwest that helped design the creative that would deliver their messages. “We’re a small organization, so having the Directwest marketing team able to turn our ideas into creative was invaluable,” says Wilcoxen. “The creative they produced did the job and did it well.”
“Our in-house creative team was able to work with SaskMilk to develop billboards that were playful and eye-catching while being informative and educational,” says Wrishko. “That, plus our digital billboards built-in flexibility, allowed SaskMilk to achieve their marketing goals, reaching Saskatchewan consumers with a fun yet important message about local dairy products.”
Learn more about SaskMilk at saskmilk.ca.
-Brook Thalgott is a graduate from the University of Regina and Simon Fraser University, she has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications.