Students dress up as cows, deliver milk
Their first delivery was to Herman B Wells Library. Junior Milk Mooover Jake McCarty stood surveying the first floor of Wells in a cow costume while holding a jug of milk, unable to find the woman in the red shirt who had requested the delivery.
“I turned a corner, and there was this girl,” McCarty said. “Her eyes lighten up and she’s like ‘yes.’”
After he left the building, other students looked around and questioned what had just happened. Sophomore Chloe Nelson and her friends explained how they had ordered a gallon of milk to be delivered for just a few dollars from these people called the Milk Mooovers.
The Milk Mooovers is a service offered through the app Gigio and is used as a marketing campaign, junior Evan Cahill, who came up with the idea, said.
Cahill, his mouth sticky and dry with peanut butter, came up with the idea one night when he found a full fridge of groceries but an empty jug of milk.
However, after talking with his housemates, they came to realize there was already a business for delivering milk in Bloomington. They then realized it could be an even bigger business if they delivered the milk in cow costumes, Cahill and McCarty said.
Cahill cited the history of milk delivery, when it was delivered to doorsteps. He said he quickly realized this business could be offered through the new app, Gigio, which McCarty and two others had been working on.
McCarty, IU junior Michael McHugh and Brown University junior Daniel Jones had been working on marketing Gigio. The app connects individuals in the Bloomington area looking for and selling services, like laundry washing and haircutting, with cheaper prices. McCarty said it works like Craigslist but with greater levels of trust because of different features, like showing connections on Facebook, on the app.
“It really creates stronger communities because you’re working with people in your area,” McCarty said.
Cahill, who studies entrepreneurship and management, said he came up with the idea of using Milk Mooovers as a marketing campaign while in an honors I-Core class. He said he wanted his friends to succeed with their app and believed Milk Mooovers would be a way to attract people to download it.
“It goes to show you what can happen if you stop thinking about money and just worry about helping others,” he said.
With a $4 flat rate for a gallon of milk and delivery, McCarty said they don’t make a lot of money. However, this was not the point. It was to bring attention to the app. He said every person who orders makes the delivery process worth it.
Milk Mooovers has donated profits to IU Dance Marathon, and McCarty said the company might do that again in the future.
“People are really into the whole milk thing,” McCarty said. “People really love milk and hate running out of it, I guess.”
After coming up with the idea, McCarty said they put an ad on IU classified that they would deliver milk through Gigio in a cow costume.
“We didn’t have a cow costume yet, but we said if anyone ordered it, we’d just instantly go buy a cow costume, go to Kroger, get some milk and then just sell it to them,” McCarty said. “And it worked.”
Nelson, the first person to order through the app, said she and her friends were not sure if it would actually happen or thought the ad posters may have been fraternity pledges. After McCarty dropped off their milk, she said the people around them all asked what had just happened.
She and her friends realized that they now had a gallon of milk on their hands, and they would have to drink it before it went bad. With a full gallon, it was easy to share with the people around them.
“It was a nice alternative or distraction from our studying,” Nelson said. “It’s atypical, and it was definitely unique.”
Gradually, more and more people began to hear about Milk Mooovers, McCarty said. He said most people putt out their phones and record the cows when they run in and post the videos to Facebook and Twitter.
McCarty said he woke up from a nap April 4 to see one of these videos that Shannon Clouse, a customer, had posted. The video had blown up on Facebook with tens of thousands of shares, likes and comments. The video now has almost 7 million views.
“It was a big testament to the power of social media and the internet,” Clouse said. “I have to give them all the credit. It was really cool to me to see how a simple concept like that can bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.”
One of McCarty’s other housemates, junior Jack Shockley, created and manages the Milk Mooovers’ Twitter, @MilkMooovers.
McCarty said they have gotten messages from colleges all over the country and even some requests for milk from Canada. He said the Milk Mooovers are especially popular in Tucson, Arizona.
The Milk Mooovers have delivered to Wells Library, Best Buy, Penn Station, Grazie! Italiano and a marketing meeting for Hanapin Marketing, McCarty said.
McCarty said he and his housemate, junior Aaron Schnell, walked into the wrong building for the Hanapin marketing delivery, but everyone still knew who they were because of social media.
“People don’t recognize my face with it, but they recognize the cow costume,” McCarty said. “If they just see us, they love it.”
He said there are workers at Kroger who laugh when they see them on milk runs. The cashier at Campus Costume wished them good luck when they bought their cow costume. Students laugh when the cows, costume heads bobbing, run in, hand them their milk and rush back out.
McCarty, Schockley, Cahill, Schnell and sophomore Adam Neal all live together. They, along with McHugh and some other friends, help come up with ideas to better the Milk Mooovers, dress up and deliver the milk with one another, McCarty said.
“Every cow kind of does it differently,” McCarty said. “You never know the experience you’re going to get.”
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