FUTURE DAIRY – The Success of BIG M – Was it luck or determination and talent? Australia’s BIGgest BIG

FUTURE DAIRY – The Success of BIG M – Was it luck or determination and talent? Australia’s BIGgest BIG

Think Big But not too Big..yet in 1978 – Big M had claimed 13 per cent of the non-alcoholic beverage market, only 4 years after its conception, including a 2 year product development period. Cadbury Schweppes threatening to pull their fridges out of milk bars if Big M was displayed next to their products. This was typical of the soft drink companies reacted to the challenge.

It was 46 years ago, boasting the beginning of branded milk products, a decade of innovation for Dairy in a trajectory to dominate for TV audiences and paving the way for success determining the sponsorship of the VFL Little League and the Big M Melbourne Marathon in 1978.

So, who was this successful organisation leveraging a FUTURE Dairy mindset?

You might be shocked to learn, at the helm was the Victorian Dairy Industry Authority (VDIA), superseding the Victorian Milk Board. Check out some of the nostalgic advertising during this period and you will be forgiven for being alarmed at how edgy this marketing was.

And walking the path of success was Dairy Industry’s Bill Pyle, our Inspirational Speaker at FUTURE Dairy, at Flemington 10 May 2024. We hope you will agree it fitting as Bill continues to inspire, consult and speak out for our industry.

In Bill’s heyday, Bill Pyle had a direct line to Prime Minister Bob Hawke – acting as the spokesperson on behalf of Australia’s Dairy Farmers. Bill felt alarmed at the hard work Dairy Farmers were putting in yet they still were doing it really tough.

Bill Pyle was a good Dairy Farmer himself, but more importantly for Australian Dairy Farmers, and the Dairy Industry Bill was a leader and provided the voice, cut through the politics and manifested the determination to ensure industry restructure. At this time, as much as now, Farmers were split between organisations and their visions for the future. Throughout his career, Bill was endlessly innovative, spearheading the Big M milk phenomena and delivering for farmers.

As a member of the DIAA recalls, as a young daughter of a Dairy Farmer, Sallie Jones fondly says “I remember my Dad speaking very highly of Bill. More than 6000 dairy farmers marched for policy change in Melbourne, led by Bill’s ‘Operation Concern’ in 1976. I’m
pretty sure Dad was invested in Bill and the march to catch the attention of both the consuming public and the politicians with determination that the community would get behind their voice to parliament.”

Bill, a vibrant and energised writer has since continued his voice launching his book in 2020 Australia: Land of Milk and Politics.

Bill laments in his book, “ ..the fact that most of Australia’s milk is now being processed by international companies is a disgrace…it all comes back to the investment, or lack thereof, in Australia.” Bill who is highly respected (even by people that held opposite views) was and remains a realist who understands the industry and was able to break the issues down in to common language.

Bill continues to follow our journey and is very encouraging to us (in the Dairy industry) personally. In Bill’s 9 year presidency of UDV, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, they were able to achieve great positive changes for the industry. It’s thanks to these efforts that the price of milk was deregulated and the manufacturing processes were made more efficient.

Thank you Bill! Bill has led a life to be looked upon with great pride and the industry must thank him for it.

Follow Bill’s new Instagram account @bybillpyle and get your ticket to our event 9 and 10 May.


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