INTRODUCING MILO’s PAPER STRAWS CASE STUDY
Nestlé’s chocolate malt beverage MILO is highly popular in Thailand among children who love its chocolate flavor and parents who appreciate its added nutrients. Recently Nestlé began switching the plastic straws included with MILO boxed drinks to more environmentally-friendly paper ones.
Vero was tasked to introduce the change and ease the transition by convincing families to see it as the best way to drink MILO. This campaign was a part of MILO’s ongoing initiative to educate and influence consumer perceptions regarding its environmental policies and the introduction of paper straws. The campaign ran for 12 days from 19 – 30 March 2021.
The main challenge of the campaign was to subtly shift negative consumer perceptions about a change to the product and build positive ones. We did this via two parallel branches, both of which depended on a comic-style guide titled “4 Steps to Drink MILO”. One was a user-generated content campaign which encouraged consumers to share videos of their children drinking MILO through a paper straw to show how easy it is. The other used KOL content creation to neutralize parents’ perceptions of paper straws by conveying the idea that they are “kid-friendly”. The results are interesting because they show how people respond differently to owned and influencer content, and they demonstrate the power of influencers to appeal to certain niche segments.
For the owned content branch, we conducted a giveaway activity on Nestlé’s owned channel which drew user-generated submissions from participants.
Throughout the campaign, we received a total of 235 comments on our four published pieces of content, of which 22.98% offered positive feedback, 11.06% gave neutral feedback and 65.96% gave negative feedback. We also noticed that many examples of negative feedback came from parents of very young children (1-4 years old).
Some MILO fans in the comments shared their understanding of the switch to paper straws and supported the change, but more of them expressed dissatisfaction with the change and a desire for MILO to switch back to plastic straws.
For the KOL branch, we engaged seven parenting influencers to help share the message to their audience. Four of them demonstrated the “4-step cover challenge” in order to set an example and encourage their followers to participate, while the remaining three focused on neutralizing negative audience perceptions by subtly mentioning the paper straw in their content.
Overall, the KOL content performed well, and in many cases better than Nestlé benchmarks. We received a total of 1.69 million reach out of 2.35 million followers of the KOL pages, equal to 72% of the target.
The performance of the four 4 KOLs who were assigned to demonstrate the four steps all exceeded Nestlé benchmarks, with BLJourney as the top performer, with a 67.13% engagement rate and a 67.06% view-through rate. While the engagement rate of the remaining of KOLs was lower, they were able to create significant brand and campaign awareness, for which Happy Mommy Diary was the top performer with a 5.13% of Ad Recall Lift Rate.
In contrast to the user-generated branch, the tone of the comments on influencer posts was overwhelmingly positive, and many commenters even voiced support for paper straws as an environmental policy. We feel that this was a result of KOLs making the content feel like one-to-one conversations between fellow parents. It also illustrates the value of KOLs in overcoming audience resistance to behavioral changes. People may not listen to a brand, no matter how much they like its products, but they are much more likely to listen to a trusted individual whom they perceive as similar to themselves.
Across both branches of the campaign, 51.67% of consumers shared their concerns and dissatisfaction with paper straws, often expressing hopes that MILO would revert to using plastic straws, despite awareness that the paper straws are food-grade quality and harmless to consumers. However, 39.67% of consumers shared their understanding and supported the changes.