Dairy giants battle each other over ad campaign

Two of Nigeria’s biggest dairy firms, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, makers of Peak Milk, Three Crowns Milk, among others and Chi Limited, producers of Hollandia Evaporated Milk are in the midst of a heated marketing war over who originated a particular ad first.

Peak Milk, made by FC WAMCO is accusing Chi of copying its ad. However, Chi says it is Peak that is the copycat. Peak said that Chi copied a pay-off it used in its Wazobia or Sikini money TV commercial.

Peak claims that Chi Ltd’s brand campaign tagged HollandiaEvap, Na correct Wazo was mimicking its ad. The ad depicts everyday people from different social strata declaring HollandiaEvap milk as the correct wazo milk.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO, the owners of Peak brand allege that the advert was “a mere pass-off” of its creative initiative. They add that the ad was hurriedly done, using similar approach – product in use style, using similar song and putting emphasis on Wazo.

Peak added that the handlers of HollandiaEvap used Peak Wazobia pack size but removed some elements in how the product looks – thereby creating confusion in the minds of unsuspecting consumers of Peak’s single-minded message.

However, Chi Ltd is fighting back, refuting Peak’s allegation. A high ranking official of the company said that its advert was instead copied by Peak. He added that Peak was afraid of the growing threat of Hollandia milk.

Moreover, he says that the ad was approved by the Advertsing Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), stating that Peak advert was only seen online and on social media, not on traditional media.

The official quoted a recently released retail audit data from AC Nielsen which said:

“Nationally, Hollandia Evaporated Milk has been consistently gaining market share while Peak is consistently losing. If we take a look at the last 12 quarters, Hollandia Evaporated milk has increased by 7.4 MS points, while Peak regular has dropped by 7.9 MS points.

“Hollandia Evaporated Milk is ahead of Peak in terms of market share in South West. In Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, Hollandia Evaporated Milk has more than doubled the market share of Peak.”

The Association of Advertsing Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) President, Kayode Oluwasona, condemned the development, saying:

“There may be one or two instances of pass-offs or copycat, the issue has not gotten to a frightening stage. But there is obvious need to nip it in the bud. We may see the advert being pulled down to save the brand and its owners some embarrassments. In an ideal situation, the client and agency should be able to tell themselves the truth. We have messed up and as such pull down the advert.”

Oluwasona said that his association would fight copycats in the advertising industry.

In addition, the Registrar of Advertsing Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Alhaji Garba Bello-Kakanrofi, at a marketing conference, expressed concerns over rising petitions on copycats. He called the situation a “worrisome trend.”

The dairy market has seen some intense competition between dominant brands and new entrants in recent years and Peak has been the object of the attack because of its market leadership position.

First of these new rivals is Promasidor’s Cowbell Milk. They were the first to launch powdered milk in small sachets thereby making it affordable to everyone. The marketing effort was well received as Cowbell adopted “Our Milk” as a pay-off.

However, Peak fought back and started making milk in sachets to reach everyone. Other brands have continued to challenge Peak’s market dominance.

According to a report by Euromonitor, a global market research company, Promasidor led sales in 2014 and 2015 with 30% retail value share.

The report says that drinking milk products was expected to grow at a 2% value at constant 2015 prices.

“It is expected that manufacturers will seek innovative ways of increasing their value share through product varieties and packaging.

“The increasing popularity of flavoured milk drinks among consumers as a substitute for impulse products like soft drinks will further fuel the growth of the category in the forecast period.”

Euromonitor report notes that Chi Ltd led in sales in the yoghurt and sour milk segment in 2014 and 2015 respectively with 34% value share, adding that its Hollandia brand probably has the greatest distribution of yoghurt brands.

However the report notes that FrieslandCampina WAMCO leads the milk category overall with a 75% value share both in 2014 and 2015 , saying its Peak brand is the most popular condensed/evaporated milk brand in Nigeria and targets consumers across income groups.

“The company also markets the second ranked brand, Three crowns, priced at a lower price point, and the company’s nationwide distribution and aggressive marketing strategies also contribute to its successful position,” the report says.

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