Silk is a brand phenomenon. The first refrigerated soymilk, Silk went from zero market share in 1996 to 85% market share in 2003, and remains at the top spot today. Read our brand profile about Silk's rise to become the leading soymilk.
When Silk first muscled its way into the dairy case, it was an oddball product that few could have predicted would become so popular. Now, Silk's maker, White Wave Foods (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant Dean Foods) wants to make waves again by encouraging U.S. dairy milk drinkers to switch to soymilk.
Its new "Silk for Milk 10 Day Challenge" campaign sets its sights squarely on the dairy milk market — even though White Wave also produces the Horizon brand of organic milk.
Given a growing portion of the U.S. population's penchant for healthy eating, the timing may be just right. Long considered an ideal source of healthy plant-based protein, soy is an increasingly popular choice for individuals who want to reduce their meat and poultry intake. Soymilk could also find a market among people who are lactose-intolerant or, for whatever the reason, do not like dairy milk.
The campaign pits Soymilk squarely against dairy milk, but White Wave also makes almondmilk and coconutmilk which the company brands under the Silk moniker. In effect, Silk has now expanded to become symbolic of plant-based nutrition.
As for the campaign, the first television ad in a series depicts a real family from Wisconsin (chosen because it is "the heart of dairy country") trying Silk and then deciding to switch from dairy milk.
Jennifer Hartley, director of marketing for White Wave, told MarketingDaily, "The TV commercial was filmed so that the participating family did not know it would be a commercial, and the ad is their authentic reaction." She says other people and families who have switched to Silk will be shown on the campaign's Switch to Silk microsite.
In addition to television ads, White Wave is running complementary print ads in fitness and health magazines, as well as in the celeb title Us Weekly. Digital advertising and social media support the campaign, as will a 10-city sampling tour. A specially equipped van will dispense samples, and White Wave will also hand out renewable Energy Certificates to reduce the carbon footprint of the tour.
The 10 cities tie in with the "10 Day Challenge" campaign theme. On the campaign website, Silk suggests consumers add Silk to their daily routine over a ten-day period. Day 1, for example, is described as follows: "Your new coffee crush. Silk Vanilla in a cup-o-Joe adds a sweet richness without any of the cholesterol you get with dairy creamers or milk. Almond & Soy are both delish — you pick."
Other suggestions include making a "soylicious" smoothie, creating a "Silky smooth" latte, and making frozen pops with Silk Pure Coconut Vanilla. Consumers who register on the website will get a 75-cent coupon.
So what do you think? Does Silk have a chance of displacing dairy milk... or are dairy milk drinkers "udderly" happy with their current choice?