This Chocolate Milk Brand Challenges Stale Social Norms

But will such elevated notions energize Pingüinos' image?

"I used to focus my energy on trying to defeat a monster." These words come from Laura, stricken by a debilitating disease that has taken her leg.

Laura's story of triumph—how she changed her outlook and remolded her destiny—is part of a campaign called "The Important Thing Is Inside," created by Colombian agency Fantàstica for client Bimbo.

Its function: To promote Pingüinos, chocolate milk that comes in a carton. Check out Laura's story:

Julieth Martínez Quijano, category manager of Bimbo's sweet baked goods, says the brand hopes to contribute to "normalizing the diversity that many still find difficult to accept," adding that this is "an invitation to empower the audience that suffers constant transitions … and is often rejected for not following a pattern."

A second story follows Phillip, a soccer captain who finds his role empty of greater meaning. He eventually quits to follow a route that resonates with his identity, and that could empower others:

Both stories make a tenuous connection with the product by orienting themselves around energy (because chocolate milk gives you more of that. Well, maybe check if you're lactose intolerant). Laura's energy is initially consumed by fighting "the monster" within her—a rare disease. When it takes her leg, she decides to shift her focus to becoming a great swimmer, though her prosthetic means she'll have to learn to swim all over again.

Phillip, too, shifts his energy from fulfilling social norms and reinforcing his masculinity and "normalcy" to his father. Instead, he's going to captain the Pride parade every day … even when there’s no parade!

"We decided to use this shift in thinking to change the rules of the category and focus on kids who need energy to change the world they live in," says Alejo Gómez, director general of creative at Fantàstica. "This generation uses their time and energy in a different way. It is clear that the way to approach them had to be different."

Gómez touches on something important there. Unlike millennials coming of age, Generations Z and Alpha are totally divested of the delusion that the social contract—that working hard will earn you a home, a car and the capacity to support a family—still holds. So, less concerned about performing effectively for historic class and social markers, they've turned their sights to other things, like radically rethinking what's normal.

Normal doesn't seem to be working so well, anyway. The Western societies into which Gens Z and Alpha were initiated often seem shaky at best. The politics are extreme. Social media shreds the social fabric. We are plagued by the effects of climate change, from an uptick in Lyme disease to increasingly weird weather.

This presents a problem for the majority of brands, who've rested comfy on the laurels of conspicuous consumption. How many agencies got rich from stoking disputes about Mac vs. PC, Nike vs. Adidas, or Hermès vs. Chanel?

Brands like Pingüinos will have an especially difficult time with this transition, resting as they did on the simple idea that kids could be kids for a reliable stretch of time, and that shows in this work. Pingüinos is the epitomy of a "between" brand. It's in a tweenish category, when kids bud into young teens. It's kind of junk-foody, kind of not; the idea that milk makes every kid strong, and gives them energy, is not as neatly received as it was in the '80s.

So where is its natural fit? Since Greta Thunberg, it's become clear that kids in the West don't get to remain unconcerned as long as they'd like, and they're pissed about it. Today's tweens—if that category still exists—are activists almost by obligation. Is that a context in which you want some chocolate milk? (Actually, maybe.)

Both ads end with "What's Inside Is What Really Matters." That seems to say: Don't judge the package, but consider the merits! It is mainly in this odd plea that Pingüinos' voice can be heard. Yet, even this aspirational slogan feels appended to the stories, themselves too large to fall under their trite tagline, and too complex for the neat endings they've been given.

Not every brand is going to make it through this time. This is Pingüinos' shot. We don't think it's quite landed, but it's interesting insofar as it represents a larger malaise, an awkward reintroduction of adolescence, for a category that no longer knows its place.


Creative VP: Daniel Bermudez, Alejandro Gómez
DG Accounts: Juan Camilo Tobón
Accounts: Giovanny Rociasco
Creative DC: Alma Manrique, Mario Peñalosa, Julian Velazquez
Copywriters: Valeria Forero, Ana Tafur, Alejandro Gómez, Mario Peñalosa
Art Director: Nicolas
Production Company: Akira Cine
Sound: Sonica
Director: Juan Rueda
Music: Camilo Montilla
Juan Gavilanes VP Marketing Bimbo
Julieth Martínez Quijano - Category Manager Sweet Baked goods

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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