Chobani is out this week with some bold new advertising. My assessment: this is a risky strategy.
The new campaign from Chobani takes aim at yogurt giants Yoplait and Dannon, attacking their ingredients. Here are some highlights from the full-page newspaper ads Chobani ran yesterday:
Look, there’s potassium sorbate as a preservative in Yoplait Greek 100. Potassium sorbate? Really? That stuff is used to kill bugs.
There’s sucralose used as a sweetener in Dannon Light & Fit Greek! Sucralose? Why? That stuff has cholorine added to it.
Chobani’s website supports the campaign.
The brand broke new television spots, too. Take a look:
This is a powerful campaign. It is direct and hard-hitting. It clearly differentiates Chobani.
It is also a dangerous campaign. Chobani is taking on two giants; Dannon and Yoplait (General Mills) are huge brands. Picking a fight with strong, well-liked brands is not a great idea. They will respond.
The bigger problem is that Chobani risks damaging the entire yogurt category. Talking about the bad ingredients in yogurt is not going to boost overall category consumption. When Dannon and Yoplait start attacking Chobani on some dimension (and they probably will) the category will take another hit.
Differentiation is the core of marketing strategy. Directly going after a strong competitor is rarely a great approach. This won’t end well.