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Ad of the Day: Why Chobani Got Real on the Most Fake Night of the Year


Pitching the virtues of "real" is an intriguing marketing choice on Oscar night, the fantasy industry's biggest Botoxed evening of the year. Then again, contrast is the underlying theme of Chobani's new ad from Droga5, promoting Simply 100, the Greek yogurt's entry into the light-yogurt segment.

The Greek yogurt industry leader, which claims to be the only producer with all-natural ingredients, is a latecomer to low-calorie yogurt offerings, which are the fastest-growing dairy category. Chobani has its work cut out: The brand is not only playing catch-up; it's also dealing with new hardball comparison marketing from deep-pocket competitors like General Mills' Yoplait.

In this new "Farmland" spot, Chobani stops short of naming the competition, but there's little visual ambiguity. It opens with a view of rivals: Test-tube artificial flavors hang off fruit trees; plastic cows graze on half an acre of artificial turf. Ingredients are mixed in beakers by men in lab coats in front of a phony barn facade. A butterfly then takes viewers to where Chobani sources ingredients from real farm fields, cows, fresh peaches and cherries.

The spot uses a quirky Nancy Sinatra soundtrack, "The End," and while there's no literal connection, its country crescendo works with the commercial's pastoral setting, faux and otherwise.

The spot continues Chobani's "How Matters" branding, which launched on the Super Bowl with the ad starring a bear who looked for a snack after waking up from hibernation. That was the opening salvo from new chief marketing officer Peter McGuinness, who is tasked with creating a profile for a brand that has only 37 percent U.S. awareness despite being the country's No. 1 selling Greek yogurt.

McGuinness, who previously ran DDB Chicago, is no stranger to a good marketing fight and might have been expected to respond to competitors like Yoplait with more of an advertising punch. But he says Chobani is a brand associated with a certain amount of humility, as indicated in the commercial's end line: "A cup of yogurt won't change the world, but how we make it might."

The job going forward is to maintain the roots of a brand born amid the small dairy farms of upstate New York, while taking it mainstream in the aisles of mega-retailers like Walmart. "We're not reinventing Chobani. We're re-articulating it," McGuinness said." 'How Matters' is what we've always stood for."

Client: Chobani

Agency: Droga5, New York
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Creative Directors: Rick Dodd, Steve Howell
Art Director: Karen Short
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
Producer: Robert Marmor
Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Chobani, Chief Marketing Officer: Peter McGuinness
Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing: Brad Charron
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Director of Photography: David Devlin
Executive Producer: Lisa Tauscher
Producer: Drew Santarsiero

Editing: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Editor: Conor O'Neill

Postproduction: The Mill
Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe
Producer: Alex Fitzgerald

Music: "The End"
Artist: Nancy Sinatra
Writers: Sid Jacobson, Jimmy Krondes

Sound Design: Sonic Union
Engineer: David Papa

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