OGILVY GERMANY, Frankfurt / MILKA / 2022

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Why is this work relevant for PR?

German Rap is often packed with violent and hateful lyrics. That’s why Milka, Germany’s most tender chocolate, teamed up with a rapper NIMO to do something about it. By releasing a rap song about empathy, called “ZART,” which means ‘tender’ in German, Mika and NIMO shocked and disrupted German rap world. The song “ZART” stood out from all the other rap songs with its tender message and started a conversation about empathy in the German rap scene on different platforms, making Milka and NIMO a talk of the town.


Milka is Germany’s most tender chocolate brand. It recently launched a new global campaign, which states that in life, as in chocolate – tender tastes better, encouraging people to be empathic, in other words – to be tender. To amplify this new campaign Milka needed a culture-leading idea that would tenderize something very untender and prove that tender indeed tastes better.It’s known that German rap is one of the most popular music genres among the youth and is often packed with violent and hateful lyrics. So, Milka wanted to disrupt the overly aggressive hip-hop scene with an unexpected tender message that will encourage hip-hop fans to be more tender and empathic. With the idea Milka also wanted to rejuvenate the brand, effectively connecting with the hard-to-reach younger audience. To sum up the objectives were: 1)Grow market share, 2) Increase penetration with younger consumers, 3) Lead culture and drive earned coverage.

Describe the creative idea

The idea, titled “Explicit Tenderness,” was to “tenderize” German Rap by sending a message of empathy into an overly harsh and untender rap scene. To achieve that Milka decided to create a rap song that would stand out with its powerful tender message from all the other rap songs that usually contain hateful and violent lyrics. Since German rap is widely popular among the youth, who are Milka’s target audience, such rap song with an unusual positive and tender message, would immediately catch their attention and spark a conversation.

Describe the PR strategy

How could Milka reconnect with younger consumers who thought it’s stale or even worse – irrelevant? Consumers are only influenced by recommendations from friends; and are selective about what they choose to download on their phones or to engage with on their social feeds. Milka knew it needed a culturally relevant way to connect with these hard-to-reach consumers, without them feeling like a brand was trying to connect with them. So, Milka set out to infiltrate their playlists and feeds by partnering with an iconic, contemporary artist to embed its brand view via a song they’d seek out, download and share.Milka decided to launch a new track in the most popular (#1 in Germany) and the least tender genre of music it could find: rap. So, Milka partnered with an ex-prisoner, turned family man, rapper NIMO, who shared Milka’s brand vision about putting a little more tenderness into the world.

Describe the PR execution

Milka wanted to tenderize something very untender. As German rap is packed with hateful and violent lyrics, Milka decided to release a rap song with contrasting tender message, without sounding commercial. Milka also needed to find a credible rapper who would dare to release a rap song with such an unusual message. Eventually, Milka teamed up with NIMO, an authentic rapper with criminal past, who wanted to turn his public image around. He wrote a song about empathy, called “ZART,” which means ‘tender’ in German. The song was released on Spotify. “Bro, be tender, be tender” were the lyrics, which perfectly delivered Milka’s brand message. In addition, a music video was produced where different unexpected acts of tenderness were shown as an embodiment of the song’s message. The song was also promoted on TikTok with the help of local influencers who eventually turned it into #1 trend on the platform.

List the results

With “Explicit Tenderness” Milka managed to send a strong and refreshing message of empathy into a harsh rap scene. The song was praised by hip-hop fans for its authenticity, sparking a conversation about empathy in an overly aggressive German rap world. In this way, the song “ZART” enabled Milka to reach its younger target audience and revive its brand image, giving the brand more meaning and relevance in the modern-day conversation. Overnight, Milka became a part of pop culture, as the song “ZART” generated a total of 253M impressions across different media. The music video has been viewed 2,5 million times on YouTube during the first week and trended on the launch day. It also trended #1 on TikTok, with over 30,000 user-generated videos and over 10 million views. It was released on Spotify, being the 3rd most-streamed hip-hop track of the day, as well as #8 in the Spotify Top 50, currently with over 25 million streams on the platform. But most impressively, the song “ZART” made it to the top 20 of Official German Single-Charts. Not less important, the “Explicit Tenderness” helped Milka to achieve its business goals. For instance, the following results were recorded: Volume share +2.4pp, Value share +1.6pp, M EUR Value +5.7, Penetration in young segment +2.1ppt, PR Value €3,5M.

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