Chobani unveils ‘Almost Milk’ campaign for new oat-based offerings
As Chobani rolls out its first venture into the dairy alternative category with a new oat milk, the company has created “Almost Milk,” a wide-reaching campaign to anchor its sweeping product expansion that also includes coffee creamers and oat-infused yogurts.
“Three years ago, we started positioning Chobani as something bigger than just one product,” says Leland Maschmeyer, chief creative officer at Chobani.
Long known only for Greek yogurt, the company is now seeking an audience of roughly 26 million “flexitarians”—consumers who are open to using both dairy and non-dairy options—with its latest product expansion beyond the yogurt aisle.
New in Chobani’s line-up are its flagship oat-based dairy alternative Oat Drink, dairy-based coffee creamers with no added oils, and a series of yogurts with oatmeal and fruit blends. Chobani Oat Drink, which will receive the bulk of the company’s marketing attention, also comes in a “Barista Blend” variant that, for now, is sourced directly to coffee shops.
“The whole idea is that oat milk is everything you love about milk, without the dairy. The whole eating and usage experience will be similar to milk,” says Maschmeyer. In terms of taste, consistency and environmental footprint, he says, oat milk was the best route for Chobani to enter the dairy alternative category.
The extensive “Almost Milk” campaign, created entirely in-house, is a nod to milk’s strong cultural ties to Americana and serves as an homage to Norman Rockwell’s work.
“A lot of people who are into oat, or are ‘plant-based curious,’ are on the coasts of the country, and that's where we’ve focused our media buys,” he says, adding that out-of-home will be the largest single component of “Almost Milk,” along with activation partnerships with cafe chains Maman and La Colombe.
Chobani has commissioned more than 1,700 billboards, bus wraps and public transit displays in 27 markets to hype its new Oat Drink, with placements in cities including New York, San Francisco, Miami and Portland, Oregon.
Its national paid media campaign includes video via YouTube and Hulu, social with Facebook and Instagram, and audio with Pandora and NPR.
Chobani’s expansion into the alternative dairy market comes as products including oat-, almond- and rice-based products surge in popularity, while a recent report from data analytics firm GlobalData suggests that oat milk will overtake almond as Americans’ alternative of choice within the next few years.
“Oat-based products competing in the U.S. dairy category across milk, cream, ready-to-drink and yogurt segments have had a great 12 months,” says Andy Coyne, a GlobalData food correspondent.
“As the plant-based dairy alternative category grows, oats are increasingly likely to be seen as the ingredient that shifts these products into the mainstream.”
Meanwhile, traditional milk consumption in the U.S. has been in a long-term decline, forcing some major dairy producers to close their doors in the face of weakening demand.
In addition to the launch of “Almost Milk,” Chobani is simultaneously embarking on a reinvigorated national campaign for Flip, its yogurt brand with more than a dozen flavored mix-ins. Those new ads will feature a character called “The Tempter” who tries (and fails) to tempt consumers away from their Chobani Flip.