NFL players 'flex their cryceps' in latest push from Oikos

Danone promotes Triple Zero offering in new spot from Lightning Orchard centered on pro football players

Published On
Apr 21, 2020

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Football players, who often appear in ads showcasing their agility, toughness and speed, are about to be singled out for getting in touch with their emotions. 

Oikos Triple Zero is showing real footage of players shedding tears during past NFL Drafts in a new spot for this year’s draft called “Flex Your Cryceps.” The ad was pulled together in a matter of weeks after Danone’s Oikos Triple Zero had to shelve its plans for an on-site fan experience in Las Vegas when the NFL Draft’s in-person extravaganza was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As the official sponsor of the NFL and as a key sponsor of the NFL Draft we had value that we wanted to leverage as part of our sponsorship,” says Surbhi Martin, VP of marketing, Danone North America. “We had to very quickly think about how to pivot.” 

Oikos Triple Zero has been the official yogurt of the NFL since the product launched in 2015, and often features players in its campaigns. It has also been presenting sponsor of the NFL Draft Experience, an area for fans, and a top-tier sponsor of the NFL Draft, since 2017.

This year, those plans had to change quickly before the NFL Draft starts on April 23. 

The 30-second spot includes clips of Saquon Barkley, Garett Bolles, Marquise Brown, Rashan Gary, Chris Jones, Drew Lock, Gerald McCoy, Dak Prescott, Jaylon Smith, Juju Smith-Schuster, Golden Tate III, Deshaun Watson and Jonah Williams. Many of them are shown tearing up upon hearing that they were picked in the NFL Draft, while others are shown flexing muscles, not their tear ducts, on the field, all backed by a song about crying. 

“It’s not crying. It’s flexing cryceps,” text on the screen reads in the spot, which comes from Lightning Orchard.

While the spot does not mention the canceled NFL Draft fan event nor COVID-19, the brand wanted to find a way to forge an emotional connection with fans that was “tonally appropriate” for the current climate, says Martin.

“It was an opportunity for us to display the full range, or spectrum of strength, physical and emotional,” Martin says, adding that the idea is meant to appeal to a broader audience than NFL fans. 

Danone approached NFL Films for the footage, which was a bit of a logistical challenge since the league’s staff is not currently in the office daily. The brand then got clearance from the NFL Players Association and the players featured in the spot. The brand works with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, but not the others. Prescott isn’t teary in the spot. “We didn’t have footage of him crying,” says Martin. 

The football-focused push comes months after Oikos focused on players’ glutes, or “bubble butts,” in a digital spot called #YoGlutes that aired the weekend of the Super Bowl. It was also a departure from more typical yogurt ads, which often show people eating yogurt. Sales picked up “really notably” in the weeks following the Super Bowl, says Martin.

Now, like other sports-minded advertisers, Oikos is waiting to see what happens with the NFL season. Typically, it would be gearing up for campaigns to coincide with the football season, as well as the 2021 Super Bowl.

“As a marketer, you’re trying to scenario-plan for various different possibilities,” Martin says.

The ad will begin airing this week, primarily during the draft. Oikos Triple Zero is also hosting the official NFL Draft After-Party, called Stay Strong with Shaq, on Shaquille O’Neal’s Instagram page on April 23. The retired NBA star, who moonlights as DJ Diesel, will be joined on a virtual dance floor by players and others, including Isaiah Simmons, Jeff Okudah, and Tristan Wirfs, Oikos says. The after-party is a fundraiser for the NFL Draft-A-Thon for COVID-19 relief, and Oikos Triple Zero is donating $50,000.

The brand has done some outreach to some of the players participating in the draft, Martin says, but there are no plans for any product placement during the NFL Draft.