The Benna Debate

Some Context

Benna, in case you are not a local, is the only producer of Fresh Milk in Malta, like, since ever. Problems started when long-life milk became something more mainstream, or more specifically, cheap-as-chips milk from Lidl. This has brought the once state-owned corporation, Benna, into a rather awkward position. Either re-invent itself or die, as no amount of Calcium was going to save it. 

Luckily, Benna took the smart decision to engage with a Marketing Consultant company, such as Salt Studio (shameless plug). As intended, this was to give this soon-to-be spoiled milk a new fresh boost, pun intended. This is when we have seen the rise of ancillary products; yogurt (both in full-fat and light version), lactose free milk, and the famous spotted rebranding, to name a few.

It also gave the rise of:

  • Benna Butter (in a paper, because apparently back in the 1950s that is how butter used to be packaged and we are still in the 1950s)
  • Vitamin D Fortified Milk (not like you can get Vitamin D from standing 5 mins in ‘Sunny Malta’),
  • and the rather controversial flavored milk, which in most part has hit the spot except for the latest Red Velvet Edition.

The Red Velvet Milk Edition

Released in March, which happens to be just after Valentine’s Day, rather odd given the color which would have been more appropriate. Possibly, the flavouring or packaging were delayed in shipping, due to Covid-19, obviously – cause that seems to be the excuse for anything delayed these days. Seems to work for Malta Post at least. This is basically Milk with Red Dye and Red Velvet Flavouring.

While personally, I have never tasted this Milk or any of the other over-sugared Benna Milk Flavors, has received quite the praise from Influencers. Accompanying the launch was an advert, and here is where the problem begins.

Sexism in Advertising Media

Sexism or rather using a scantily dressed woman to sell products has, is, and will be a subject of debate till the end of time. Our perception of beauty has through the years changed and of what is perceived as the Gold Standard. Put simply we are at an age in our society that it’s time to move on from having any preconceived standard. The key takeaway here is to rather focus on the message, in such case, to sell more milk!

Ask yourself, does the concept of an attractive Woman in an advert, attract more views, or does it drive sales and customers? Browsing does not pay the bills rather purchasing your product does.

Where do we go now?

Well now, after several feminist speakers were awakened and powered through Facebook posts, there are two options Benna can take. (Which at the time of writing, have not yet publicly discussed the subject.)

Option one: Publicly apologize, issue a statement and simply pull back the advert. Option two: Spin it, in a way that proves the initial intention of the ad was to spark public debate on the subject and ride on the wave of out-cry, which will for sure generate more sales.

Benna, what’s your next move?