Milk is going head to head with sports and energy drinks this month in a £3.2m dairy industry marketing campaign to win over young consumers.

Milk In Action aims to change the attitudes of 12 to 20-year-olds by portraying milk as a sporty, 'cool' drink associated with physical activity and exercise.

Ads with the strapline 'Milk it for all it's worth' will appear in youth magazines such as Bliss and Sugar from 20 September, supported by editorial and online activities. The campaign will also involve a young athlete, to be revealed later this month.

The three-year campaign, unveiled at this week's Dairy UK conference in Birmingham, is being run by The Dairy Council and its counterparts in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is part-funded by the EU.

"This is a totally different category for milk," said Judith Bryans, director of The Dairy Council. "It's never been able to compete with sports drinks before."

A secondary strand of the campaign will involve an outreach programme for health professionals to raise awareness of the benefits of milk consumption in a sporting context.

The campaign was devised by advertising agency TBWA, which is experienced in targeting younger age groups. Bryans said it was "entirely complementary" to Make Mine Milk, the generic campaign that features celebrities sporting 'milk moustaches'.