New Zealand dairy brand Anchor teamed up with slam poet Harry Baker to create the award-winning spots. 

Elisabeth Sherman
June 19, 2017

A series of ads for milk have won a gold Lion in the Health & Wellness category of the Lions Health festival in Cannes.

Created by the milk brand Anchor and ad agency Colenso BBDO, based in New Zealand, the short films feature voiceovers of spoken word poetry by Harry Baker. Anchor also worked with artists like Parris Goebel to help create compelling visuals to accompany Baker’s words. According to Baker, the team wanted the videos, aimed at teenagers, to resemble “content,” rather than traditional advertising because that demographic “can smell a rat,” when it comes to companies trying to sell them a product.

The result is a video series that feels more like performance art, rather than a ploy to get teens to drink milk. In fact, milk hardly ever appears in the ads.

Only one of the ads overtly feature milk, but Baker’s poems suggest the presence or influence of milk.

In the first video, called “Real,” a series of figures show off their smiles as Baker recites a poem about strong teeth. In the second, called “Blank Canvas,” which Goebel choreogprahed, three dancers perform in front of a white background to a poem about the history of milk and it’s importance in strengthening growing bodies. The third one, titled, “Inside-Out,” more explicitly tackles milk, describing its benefits, like “bright” teeth, calcium, and vitamins A and B.

“The campaign aligns directly with Anchor’s ‘Go Strong’ platform, the belief being that the nutrition in dairy provides the strength which builds confidence to give anything a go,” Colenso BBDO said in a statement. “The project aims to inspire teenagers to be themselves and create their own definition of strength.”

While the ads are certainly an artistic acheivement, the jury is still out on whether or not they'll actually be successful in encourging teens to drink more milk. (And whether or not that's a good thing at all is also up for debate.)