Michele Vee

October 26, 2022

What an inspiration to chat with MilkPEP’s Senior Director of Marketing Miranda Abney to learn about the exciting next chapter for You’re Gonna Need Milk For That!

I heard you’re leading 26.2 – the MilkPEP program sponsoring female runners in the Nov. 6th marathon in New York City. Congratulations! Can you tell me about your background and how you were chosen to lead this significant program?

It’s really exciting! I’ve been at MilkPEP for 15 years – after the famous milk mustaches, one of my big projects was launching Built With Chocolate Milk, a campaign focused on chocolate milk for recovery at the point of sweat. It’s a great time to intercept people with an ice cold, chocolate milk at the finish line, deliver a message and really drive reconsideration for chocolate milk. A big foundational piece was setting up a robust sampling program through grassroots races. We had partnerships with the Rock and Roll Marathon series, Ironman, and other smaller entities – we had a significant footprint for nearly ten years. I’ve done so many of these types of programs, it made sense for me to lead with my experience and expand our efforts to include white milk which fuels performance.

Does 26.2 represent the next chapter for You’re Gonna Need Milk For That?

Yes, we’ve evolved the campaign to ensure relevance with active modern families.

Our launch in 2021 was about Olympians, NFL players and female footballers – athletes performing at the highest levels who gave YGNMFT an appropriate launchpad. In 2022 the campaign has evolved to emphasize that no matter how you define performance – occasional runner, weekend warrior, chasing kids all day – whatever performance means to you – milk wants to play a role in that.

Throughout the programming of You’re Gonna Need Milk For That, milk has appeared confident, loud and proud. How will milk show up at 26.2/NYC?

Milk is taking over NYC! Even though we’re not an official sponsor, I’m really proud of the footprint we’re creating before, during and post-race. We have so many super eye-catching and engaging components to the program – like the 3D digital out-of-home – where millions of consumers watched a 3D glass of milk fill the Nasdaq board in Times Square. During race weekend we have another captivating 3D billboard that is sure to drive a lot of engagement. Targeted programmatic media is driving consumers to where they can easily sign up to be sponsored by Milk. And all-around NYC you’ll see wild postings and other ads featuring members of Team Milk 26.2.

What do female runners get with Milk’s sponsorship? Is there an additional fee to be part of Team Milk?

No fee and a big incentive – MillkPEP will pay forward their registration fee – $300 to the charity benefactor – Girls on the Run, a nationwide grassroots organization that empowers adolescent girls to feel good and stay active, culminating in 5K races in markets around the country. Together with Team Milk, we’re empowering the female runners of the future with a donation of up to $600K.

Additionally, our Team Milk runners will also have access to professional trainers from Peloton, marathon nutrition experts and others who can provide essential tips and support. At our expo booth (located just outside the official area, but all runners will walk by), we’ll have a team of stretchers to help our sponsored runners get nice and loose before the race and a fun photo booth where folks can get their photo taken and within 20 minutes their photo will appear on a of billboard in New York City. We’ll provide the runners with their photo and location so they can check it out and take selfies alongside their very own billboard. And did I mention swag?!

On race weekend, we’ll have a bus blanketed with our creative roaming around the expo center, 700 digital screens along the race route and the ultimate cheer squad experience as the MilkPEP team and agency partner GALE (wearing identical eye-catching attire) enthusiastically cheers on our ladies! And of course, we’ll be at the finish – ready to greet our runners with an ice-cold chocolate milk for recovery.


How exciting! Is there any role milk brands and industry friends can play in support of 26.2?

We always appreciate it when our milk brands and industry partners amplify what we’re doing and support us on social media. We’ll be getting a lot of learnings from this event and I’m looking forward to sharing that back with the industry.

Other ways for brands to play a role would be to support local athletic events – 5K races, fun runs, marathons. They can endear their brand to loyal customers by showing up where they are, cheering them on and of course – handing out chocolate milk at the finish line.

Speaking of marathons, it probably feels like you’re running a marathon all these years building awareness, changing behaviors and working hard to ultimately drive consumption – can you share a few thoughts on where you draw your innovation and inspiration to come up with programs like this one?

I’m really lucky because I get to do a job everyday and support a product and industry that I really believe in and have a lot of heart for – I have a strong emotional connection to milk and that provides daily inspiration and gives me that never quit attitude. I’m super passionate about the product and everything it has to offer and the fact that milk is sort of taken for granted today is a hard barrier to overcome – trying to show up differently and get people to notice us is job #1. People don’t naturally associate milk with physical activity and it’s a bit of a surprise when we show and we’re able to do some education and we’re going to continue to do events and show up differently. We’re really getting people to notice us again and take another look.

It’s clear you’re a superfan of milk! Can you share something personal about your favorite way to enjoy milk or perhaps your relationship with milk and performance?

I’ve always been a milk drinker. I have funny milk memories from college – one of my roommates had a magic hangover cure that was “waking up and chugging straight from a gallon of white milk”– so we were drinking it quite a bit in those days. And then once the chocolate milk recovery program came together, I was working with and inspired by incredible athletes and decided to run a half marathon.

I ran my first half in 2011 and have run about 30 since. The best part is the chocolate milk waiting for me at the finish line. That’s a good example of how this job truly gives me inspiration every day.