The Milk Marketing Forum is calling on dairy farmers to financially support the Make Mine Milk ‘milk moustache’ campaign for the first time when EU funding for the campaign runs out next year.
The campaign launched in April last year will come to an end in October 2012. It has received £2.5m of the £9m total budget for the current campaign from the EU, but match-funding rules prevent it from gaining any further cash from Brussels.
The forum said it was seeking contributions towards the £5m-a-year necessary to carry the campaign forward. Sandy Wilkie, MMF chairman, said farmers as well as processors had a duty to increase the market for their products. “Retailer and processor margins are down, and farmer margins are probably down a bit, but they all have an obligation to contribute to the long-term wellbeing of the core product,” he added.
Make Mine Milk had been a “first-class” success and public awareness of the campaign, which had involved high-profile celebrities with milk moustaches, now stood at 52%, with a Facebook fanbase of 80,00o.
Wilkie said he was also concerned that the processors, which currently contributed £6.5m, might be reluctant to continue their support if farmers did not stump up.
The most efficient way for farmers to contribute would be through DairyCo, Wilkie suggested, because there was already a levy collection structure in place.
But rather than promoting the consumption of milk, DairyCo chairman Tim Bennett said DairyCo’s priority was to “manage the image of dairy farming” and promote positive messages about animal health and welfare as well as dairy farming’s impact on the environment.
Wilkie added he was keen to see more sports celebrities involved in the campaign. The US Milk Moustache campaign, on which Make Mine Milk is modelled, had signed up David Beckham as an ambassador, and Wilkie said he hoped to do the same in the UK.
New stars unveiled for Make Mine Milk (7 May 2011)
Pixie Lott and Gordon Ramsay first to sport the Make Mine Milk moustaches (10 April 2010)