Kenya: ‘Do Milk!’ Campaign Targets Fast Food Generation

The Kenya Dairy Board and milk processors in the country have decided to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage the consumption of milk. This is in line with changing lifestyle attitudes in the country, which has seen many of the youth abandon healthy eating practices for fast food.

Using the title ‘Do Milk’, the campaign has sparked conversation among the country's bloggers and commentary on social media sites. Here is a link of the advert on YouTube:

In a post titled ‘Badvertising Vol.2 – Five Reasons to Do Milk‘, iCon on the blog Diasporadical took a curious look at the ad campaign:

Some would say they were guided by the insight that everybody loves babies as fun, cute, bundles of joy. I say Evian are cowards. There are large demographics of people(in and out of prison) who would love to see babies in adult clothing doing sexy dances and buying each other drinks and be told to “do milk”. That’s not perverted at all. It’s edgy. It has sex appeal. Milk is sexy. End of story.

Speaking of inspirational, this ad is necessary. The whole idea, as I’m meant to understand, is that it’s a campaign by the Kenya Dairy Products Association to get people to drink more milk. An unofficial Diasporadical survey revealed that when people were asked what came to mind when they heard “Do Milk”, drinking milk came a staggering third (behind ‘boobs’ and ‘bestiality’). This is a crisis. People really need to start drinking milk and not associating the phrase “do milk” with any form of fetishist coitus. Best way to do that: babies. Why? Because research, that’s why. Research that was so indepth and focused it did not uncover a very similar ad. That’s how focused these guys are to get you to drink milk. How noble., which chronicles the activities of a young agricultural farmer, said:

Most farmers will applaud this but the tough job will be how to sustain the consumption amidst changing feeding patterns in and around the region. According to an article appearing The East African title ‘Got Milk? Kenya's Dairy firms in joint publicity campaigns‘ Kenyans remain the highest consumers of milk in the East African region ….this is a fact usually seen in simple practice as tea-making and taking which is easily Kenya's ‘social drink’. In some countries such as Tanzania, black tea or coffee is more common,a trait replicated in countries such as Ethiopia and shattered Somalia.

Another element which the KDB would have ‘milked’ is the sportsmen and women from this country.That they have been able to make their exploits across the world thanks to regular consumption of milk is without a doubt. Maybe someone should even look at patenting and packaging the famous mursik from the Rift Valley region (some sports science researchers have tried to link its consumption to Kenya's prowess on the track but no conclusive findings have been ever been made). Imagine would impact this would have when our world-beaters at the Olympics hold up a gourd/glass of this drink at every public event and aggresively engage in its consumption?

All in all, it is a good start and it is our hope that the renewed interest in milk consumption will not just benefit the milk processors who are more commercially driven but also work to promote a healthy feeding culture in the country and region. It should also benefit the farmers with increased earnings from their labour in dairy farming.

Sci-Afrique blog on a post titled ‘Milk-drinking media campaign in Kenya, is the message accurately framed?‘:

While I’m all for a campaign to get Kenyans to drink more milk, I wonder as to the effectiveness of using an image of toddlers drinking milk (which is what toddlers do anyway) to encourage teenagers/the youth to drink milk because it’s something “cool” to do. Another issue I have with the whole campaign is that it seems to be encouraging the consumption of processed, packaged milk (considering who the sponsors of the campaign are) yet it is well known that in sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of lactose intolerance in the adult population is as high as 80%. That being the case, why not instead encourage the consumption of our traditional fermented milk products? After all, studies have shown them to have probiotic properties, and the fermentation of lactose to lactic acid helps to minimize the gastric distress experienced by lactose intolerant persons when they drink fresh milk.

Ifehenia’s Blog also took a controversial turn saying:

I suppose the ‘Do Milk, Stay Young’ campaign hasn’t gone to waste. All that sexual objectification of infants wasn’t in vain. “Sexual objectification?” you ask. Yes, research has shown that a significant number of people, upon hearing the phrase ‘Do Milk’, thought not of milk, that rich, supposedly delicious and life-giving fluid. No, the first thing that came into their mind was bestiality, followed by boobs. Milk was a distant third. I know, even I was shocked to discover that the perverts I knew were actually formidable and surmountable. There are greater forces out there…. I was going to be able to ‘Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth’. Now I suppose I have to rethink my strategy. Osteoporosis will be hard to get when I have been taking a glass of milk every day… because taking that glass makes the sexual objectification of those babies a little less worse.

If the conversation online is anything to go by, this campaign has created some interesting insights into the consumption ( or lack thereof) of milk in Kenya. Let’s see how successful the campaign will be.



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