Checkoff’s ‘Gamer’ Strategy Delivering Dairy Message with Gen Z Audience

DairyBusiness News Team

Video game influencers and dairy farmers do make a good match, it turns out.

Lindsey Rucks Gives Gamer a Virtual Farm Tour

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, announced an out-of-the-box partnership in October with four influential “YouTubers” who frequently interact with games, such as Minecraft. The concept was born with the help of DMI interns who suggested if the checkoff wants to reach the influential audience of Gen Z consumers, it must head to where they are: the video game world.

Gen Z – people born between 1997 and 2012 – represents more than 55 million consumers who have a spending power of approximately $143 billion.

DMI CEO Tom Gallagher said the gaming strategy gives the checkoff an innovative way to get dairy’s story to this audience beyond traditional means.

“A TV ad and a print ad are one-way communications that pushes information out,” Gallagher said. “This is a two-way communication where the kids can interact, understand and ask questions. The messaging is very strong, and it’s being very well received by the number of views of the videos we’re seeing.”

Influential gamers the checkoff is working with are:

  • Brianna Playz – Brianna Arsement-Barnhart (6.9 million total reach)
  • Preston Playz – Preston Arsement (35.6 million total reach)
  • Beast – Jimmy Donaldson (71.2 million total reach)
  • Matt Smith – (13.8 million total reach)

Mr. Beast, PrestonPlayz and Brianna Playz conducted virtual tours with dairy farmers to learn all they could about dairy farming and farmers’ commitment to sustainability and animal care.

Joanna Hunter, executive vice president of communications for DMI, said the results of these interactions were better than anticipated. In fact, Mr. Beast is so excited about the partnership that he is offering $50,000 of his own money to the person who constructs the best farm, adding relevancy and coolness to dairy farming.

“It has done so much more than what we thought and that has come through the influencers being excited about dairy farming and meeting the farmers,” Hunter said. “While we knew they were going to create this content and make it authentic in their own voice with messages they learned from visiting with our farmers, they have gone above and beyond. For example, while they are learning about sustainability, they are weaving in nutritional messages, too.”

The viewership of these videos has been impressive. To date, the four influencers launched content across YouTube and Instagram that has reached 8.7 million views, 2 million more than the forecasted amount for the campaign. Videos from Mr. Beast and PrestonPlayz hit No. 1 trending status for YouTube gaming. In fact, within 48 hours of Mr. Beast posting his video, it had generated 4 million views.

While none of the farmers are active in Minecraft, Hunter said they found a genuine connection with the gamers.

“It’s almost like a mutual learning between a farmer and a gamer, that they have a lot in common including an interest in doing the right thing for the planet,” Hunter said. “They also have a shared interest in technology and how that can make the world better.”

Florida dairy farmer Lindsey Rucks conducted a tour with BriPlayz and they found a connection over the fact she has a grandfather who was a dairy farmer. Rucks said the connection was so strong, she even named one of her calves Brianna.

Rucks supports this type of initiative to reach the Gen Z audience.

“Our checkoff dollars are going to the right place and being proactive bridging the divide between the generations and showing how the dairy industry plays a huge role in protecting the environment and caring for our cows,” she said.

Gallagher also offered a very optimistic assessment of the partnership and the results it will bring.

“The reach of this is enormous, the money spent is minimal,” he said. “In terms of the niche market and cost effectiveness and messaging, I guarantee this will be the most effective communications program we have had since the start of the checkoff.”

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