Milk helps build strong bones -- and, according to Team U.S.A., strong athletes. The Milk Life Olympic Program -- a five-year partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), a D.C.-based dairy community of milk companies and farmers -- has put together a roster of athletes who pledge allegiance to the protein-rich dietary staple.
Rolled out earlier this year, the partnership's Milk Life campaign promotes milk as the super fuel that keeps American athletes moving. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) collected survey data from 1,113 retired, current and hopeful U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes regarding their diets' roles in their training regimens. Based on the 675 Olympic athletes who responded, nine out of 10 reported having drunk milk growing up.
"U.S. Olympic athletes have always relied on milk to help fuel their journeys to the Olympic Games -- from the kitchen table to the training table," Julia Kadison, chief executive officer at MilkPEP, said.
Now, the Milk Life campaign is enlisting six Team U.S.A. athletes to help get out the partnership's message.
In two new spots conceived and produced by agency Weber Shandwick, U.S. Olympians "try on" different sports, all the while reiterating their reliance on milk as an energy source. Under the tagline, "built, not born," bronze medal winning swimmer Caitlin Leverenz and Jennifer Kessy, professional beach volleyball player with a silver medal, teach each other the tricks of their trades.
The Milk Life Olympic Program is the longest sponsorship deal MilkPEP has made to date. Its Milk Life campaign will include TV spots and consumer and retail promotions. Additionally, consumers who purchase plain milk any time from now until late August can upload their receipts to the campaign website and be entered to win prizes such as a trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, a web training session with a Team U.S.A. athlete, and Team U.S.A. gear.
"I can't think of a better partnership than Team U.S.A. level athletes and milk," Elizabeth Beisel, Olympic Games bronze and silver medalist in swimming, said. Ms. Beisel helps Perry Baker, rugby playing Olympic hopeful, find his water wings in another new spot.
The other athletes on the Milk Life campaign's roster are two-time gold medalist Kristin Armstrong and bronze medal winning gymnast Danell Leyva.