Just in time for diet season, and after two years of sales gains and tweaks, Chobani is ready to shine a spotlight on its light Greek yogurt.
A new campaign debuting Wednesday pits Chobani Simply 100 against certain light Greek yogurts from Yoplait and Dannon, calling the rivals out on using artificial ingredients and underscoring Chobani's use of only natural ingredients. It is the first major marketing push for Simply 100, even though the line launched in 2014.
"We were late to the game on this one. We stand by late for good reason," said Chobani Chief Marketing Officer Peter McGuinness, who said Yoplait Greek 100 and Dannon Light & Fit Greek were in the market for two to three years before Chobani Simply 100 debuted. "We wanted to develop a light yogurt using only natural ingredients and not using artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives, among other things."
Chobani made tweaks to Simply 100 during 2015 such as switching from fruit on the bottom to a blended style and updating the packaging, and sales of the line grew double digits, Mr. McGuinness said. He said Simply 100 also gained shelf space when retailers reset their yogurt sections this month, in part because of two new flavors and the new Simply 100 Crunch, a mix-in that mimics the "sidecar" idea of its growing Chobani Flips line. Now, he is ready for the brand's marketing debut.
Chobani will invest more in Simply 100 than it ever has, Mr. McGuinness said, calling 2016 "the year of Simply 100." A 12-week marketing push starting now includes everything from TV commercials and print advertising to coupons and a promotional push at Life Time Fitness gyms.
The campaign plays off the idea that women who buy light Greek yogurt think they are making smart decisions but would not be happy if they knew about some ingredients found in other brands. The push coincides with the busiest season for light yogurt. According to Chobani, one-third of all light yogurt is consumed during the first three months of the year.
One 30-second commercial (above) takes place near a roadside fruit stand. A voiceover calls out that Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt contains potassium sorbate. Another takes place near a swimming pool (below) with a voiceover that says Dannon Light & Fit Greek contains artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. In each commercial, a woman tosses aside the brand being spoken about and instead opts for a cup of Chobani Simply 100.
The hashtag #NOBADSTUFF appears on the screen at the end of those commercials.
Chobani is also calling out Yoplait and Dannon yogurts in a print ad set to appear in a dozen newspapers including The New York Times and People magazine.