During the Golden Globes broadcast last night, Splenda took a playful approach to get across the message that its Stevia sweetener is natural and plant-based by comparing it to another increasingly popular plant—cannabis.
In the humorous campaign by Humanaut that debuted online in September, a woman learns that Stevia is a plant from the voiceover and suddenly breaks character, asking: “Wait a minute, if Stevia’s a plant, what’s stopping people from growing it themselves?” We then see people cultivating Stevia at home in deliberate pot-based references: nurturing a garden of it in their basement, rebelling against their parents by cultivating it in their rooms and taking it in a baggie to the coffee shop.
The voiceover meanwhile tries to inform them that Splenda uses the sweetest part of the leaf and already grows the best tasting Stevia so they don’t have to spend their time gardening. The tagline is “It’s the sweetest thing we could grow.”
“The sweetener category continues to evolve, and we are bringing a creative twist to the category that enables us to differentiate our brand," said Ami Krishan, senior marketing director on Splenda Stevia. "The campaign idea is a playful nod that Stevia is a plant and at Splenda we have done all the hard work to deliver the best tasting product so you don’t have to have to grow your own—but you could.”
"It has a sense of self-awareness—we know we’re a large corporation making a commercial and we’re having fun with that format,” Humanaut founder and chief creative officer David Littlejohn added. “It starts off as a traditional commercial, then crashes with people interrupting and sticking it to the man. But the bottom line is it would just make more sense to buy Splenda Stevia than to go to all the trouble of making it yourself.”
According to Zack Ruderman, VP of marketing for Splenda parent Heartland Food Products Group, consumer reaction has been positive since the campaign began running a couple months ago, primarily in online video, targeted connected TV and in a few test TV markets. "We started talking about the Golden Globes opportunity in November because the early January timing was perfect, as people have just started their new year's resolutions," he says. "Losing weight and making healthier choices are some of people’s most popular goals, and our Splenda Stevia is a great choice to help them accomplish their health goals."
The ad will also be running on tonight's season premiere of "America's Got Talent," he says. The company is also ramping up social engagement to further get out word on its Stevia product. "Most people only know of Original Splenda which has been the #1 zero calorie sweetener for 20 years," he adds. Additional products however include not just the Stevia offering but also liquid sweeteners and coffee creamers.
This story has been updated to include information about Splenda Stevia's Golden Globes appearance.
Find out more about health and wellness trends at Ad Age Next: Health and Wellness on Feb. 6. Buy your tickets here.