Big M logo
|Country of origin||Victoria, Australia|
Big M is a brand of flavoured milk that was founded in Victoria, Australia, in 1977–78. It was launched by the Melton-based and newly formed Victorian Dairy Industry Authority (VDIA), which replaced the more regulatory-oriented Victorian Milk Board. The VDIA was given an expanded marketing role by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Ian Smith.
He appointed the late Des Cooper (MD of the Victorian Oat Growers Pool) as chairman, and Brian Purtell as general manager. Purtell appointed agricultural-science graduate Peter Granger as Marketing Manager. Granger conceived the VDIA Marketing Plan to introduce branding and promotion to both flavoured milk (Big M) and reduced-fat milk (Rev), and this was embraced by the board. Until this time there had been dozens of small 'zoned' dairies, some selling generic flavoured milks. With the exception of Ducats dairy in Shepparton, sales were minuscule. Ducats faced genuine competition from Midland Dairies, and this acted as a catalyst for innovation by both dairies.[clarification needed]
Zoning had stifled dairy innovation elsewhere. Attempting to overcome this the Victorian Milk Board had introduced a reduced-fat milk in the mid 1970's called 2:10 [clarification needed] The product failed due to lack of co-operation by dairy processors, and the inability of the Board to overcome this resistance. It was one of the reasons the Milk Board was subsequently replaced by the VDIA. Similarly, there was resistance to the launch of Big M and Rev, but it was ultimately embraced by the industry following consumer interest and demand the advertising and promotion generated.
Granger was principally the creative input, with Cooper and Purtell administrators who skillfully maneuvered the launch in the face of industry reluctance and scepticism. The advertising agency George Paterson handled the advertising campaign. They conceived the brand name and contracted Paddington Films to produce the highly successful Big M surfing ads. This was a rare occasion where a government department launched a successful and contemporary consumer product.
Big M accounted for sales of 19 million lites per year, and licence fees of $6 – 6.5 million pa prior to the trademarks being sold in 2000 for almost $62 million. Big M flavoured milk is available primarily in Melbourne, regional and rural areas of Victoria and the southern and western Riverina regions of New South Wales near the state border of Victoria. In recent years[when?] distribution of the Big M brand has expanded further north into the rest of New South Wales and into Queensland as well as its state of origin.
The brand gained initial popularity with its advertising association with surf and the beach culture. There were a number of subsequent ad campaigns in Victoria such as 'Think Big, but not too big'. It is sold in cartons, Tetra Briks and plastic bottles in both fresh and UHT varieties. The Big M brand is currently[when?] owned by Lion (formerly National Foods).
Big M is also available in a low fat "light" chocolate variety (0.9% fat vs 3.3% for the normal product).
Big M is available in 6 flavours:
- Original Chocolate
- Bigger Chocolate
- Iced Coffee
- Egg Flip
Previous flavours included:
- Double Strength Iced Coffee
- Fruity Mix
- Choc Berry
- Choc Orange-Jaffa
- Pine Lime-Splice
- Blueberry-Blue Heaven
- Choc Mint
- Choc Pineapple
- Banana split
- Choc Licorice-Bullet
- Toffee Whip
- Apple and Walnut
- Caramel Nougat
- Low-fat Chocolate
The flavours in bold were advertised as part of a Big M 'Flavour Flashback' promotion in 2010, with one to be voted back into regular sale. The winner was announced on 5 July 2010 as Big Egg Flip. It was retired in early 2011 and replaced with Honeycomb as another limited edition. Honeycomb was subsequently replaced by a limited edition Choc Berry in mid-2011. Egg Flip has subsequently re-appeared in late 2012.