$6 mil TV push: Protein pitched as hot new ingredient

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The next big food ingredient to be marketed to consumers is soy protein.

With protein in the news due to the Atkins diet, Solae Co. is hitting the airwaves with its first-ever national TV campaign. The effort positions the brand to both consumers and food processors as a central component of the better-for-you movement.

Two-year-old Solae soy protein, developed through an alliance between agribusiness giant Bunge Ltd. and industrial conglomerate DuPont, is carried in roughly 20 products in the U.S., among them PepsiCo's Snapple-A-Day and Campbell Soup Co.'s V8 Splash Smoothies.

growing list

The list of partners is fast growing as more and more mainstream companies look to develop healthier foods, said Todd Sutton, global marketing director for Solae. He said the company is launching a $6 million TV effort to build the ingredient brand as the mark of a great-tasting, convenient and healthy protein.

The new "Protein in unexpected places" campaign, a series of four 15-second spots from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, introduces Solae to consumers via a humorous impromptu "Protein Quiz" posed to those in the midst of their busy everyday lives. Contestants are asked to choose what is protein between slabs of meat or popular package-goods that contain Solae such as a Gardenburger-and are informed that in fact both are good sources of protein. The commercials will air on cable networks including Oxygen, The Learning Channel and Bravo. A consumer print campaign touting the same theme will likely break this fall.

Although the low-carb trend has helped build awareness of protein and "works in our favor," Mr. Sutton said, the push on Solae is more focused toward the wider health benefits of soy protein including its ability to help lower cholesterol and potentially reduce risk of cancers, he said.

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