Chobani was reticent to issue an official recall of moldy yogurt two months ago. But it’s being aggressive about launching a new advertising campaign touting the quality of its Greek yogurt as it looks to bounce back from a round of bad PR.
It’s a different game for Chobani now than just a year ago. After nearly single-handedly creating the mass market for Greek-style yogurt in the US, Chobani is facing a suddenly formidable competitor in the segment in Dannon USA’s Oikos brand, a plucky Yoplait that is trying to establish a foothold with its own Greek brand, and now a reputation sullied by Chobani’s own initial hesitance to warn its customers about the bad product.
The company told Advertising Age that the new campaign isn’t a direct response to the recall. In any event, it debuted today with a full-page ad in USA Today that reinforces the company’s “manifesto” of using “100% natural ingredients,”—a point that also driven home on its website.[more]
Other elements include a social campaign that invites consumers to tweet #ChotallyAwesome as a way of luring trucks that Chobani will deploy full of free yogurt samples near Thanksgiving, and an online video ad that shows close-ups of blueberries falling into Chobani with the line, “No Preservatives. No Artificial Flavors.”
“We haven’t been out there consisetntly articulating what we are all about and the superiority of our products,” Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s CMO, explained to the publication. “We have the best product and we really haven’t told anyone about it.”
AdAge noted that Chobani didn’t suffer much of a sales hit after the recall, with sales rising in double digits over a year earlier regardless. But just in case, CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya has done one thing that certainly is a response to his concerns about any lasting effects from the recall: mailing letters to 150,000 people who contacted Chobani during the recall.
“He wanted to thank them,” McGuinness said, “for … sticking with us and standing by us.”
And in what may be the most indicative move by the company following its dairy hiccup, Chobani announced earlier this month that it is partnering with Cornell University’s Department of Food Science to establish a research and training program to support innovations in dairy quality. The company also hired Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta as its VP of Global Quality, Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs.
Reaction to the recall or not—Chobani is covering the bases just incase any more mold incidents crop up.