The arrangement includes Bravo! Foods Intl., a North Palm Beach, FL, marketer that licenses the popular Looney Tunes characters for use as packaging graphics for the flavored milks. In turn, Bravo! Foods has an arrangement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, owner of the characters. “We're marketing, licensing, and management experts, and we provide direction and specifications for package design," says Tony Guiliano, Bravo! Foods' president and CEO. "We used to own dairies in China, but we found out we weren't milk men," he admits. "There are companies who better understand the operational side of dairy production and distribution, and that's where Quality Chekd Dairies is the expert." Quality Chekd Dairies is a Naperville, IL-based national dairy cooperative with 38 members and more than 100 manufacturing facilities. Oberweis is a member of the Quality Chekd co-op. "Quality Chekd is one of the larger milk co-ops in the world," says Guiliano. "They represent what I call 'blue-chip' dairy organizations." Label designs are created through these partners, and ultimately approved by Warner Bros. Quality Chekd visits member dairies such as North Aurora, IL-based Oberweis to make sure each dairy correctly meets recipe guidelines during start-up runs of the Looney Tunes milks. In addition, "the dairies on a monthly basis ship product here," says Quality Chekd's director of marketing, Molly Murphy. "We have a laboratory and we make sure everything is on track." Murphy credits Turner Dairies of Covington, TN, Sinton Dairy Foods of Colorado Springs, CO, and Galliker Dairy Co. of Johnstown, PA, with "being the first three dairies to step to the plate with these Looney Tunes containers. That was last summer. They put a lot of time and energy into it. “The intent was to grow the milk category by making it a more exciting alternative to soft drinks,” she explains. “We opened it up to other dairies after we felt sure that the designs and flavors would work. We've expanded it to other dairies, being careful to protect their sales and distribution regions as much as possible." "There are other dairies that are part of the Quality Chekd cooperative that [sell] Looney Tunes milks," relates Mark Leonardelli, vice president of sales and marketing for Oberweis Dairy. "But we use a custom bottle, and a full-sleeve plastic label. When we add those packaging advantages to our super-premium milk, we think we offer a unique product.
Oberweis invests more than $1 million in a new filling line to introduce PET-bottled beverages. Look for this feature story in the November issue of Packaging World.