Rio 2016: Chobani Brings #NoBadStuff to the Summer Olympics


Chobani #NoBadStuff Team USA Olympics

It’s a hashtag that struggling Rio 2016 Olympics organizers no doubt wish they had adopted for the upcoming Summer Olympic games: #NoBadStuff. But the New York-based Greek yogurt brand Chobani beat Brazil to it. And the brand intends to have a much smoother games than it did in 2014 at Sochi.

Chobani’s #NoBadStuff campaign focuses on a wide range of Olympic and Paralympic athletes—the Team Chobani athletes it’s sponsoring on the road to Rio 2016. The series of spots—with 26 videos, its biggest video push and content marketing to date—includes a decathlete, a female boxer, a wrestler and, most inspiring, a former military paratriathlete.

And while few of them are A-List, household names, one is. #NoBadStuff is anchored by USA soccer star Alex Morgan (who’s also starring in a P&G #ThankYouMom Rio 2016 spot). The message: “You Can Only be Great if You’re Full of Goodness.”

The message ties in to Chobani’s push to position its brand as a product made with “good stuff.” Ironically, the “good stuff” message is defined by “bad stuff.” Chobani has recently used the tagline “No Bad Stuff” to highlight that its yogurt is free of GMO and artificial ingredients. Chobani, which calls itself “America’s #1 Greek Yogurt Brand” and says it controls 37 percent of the US Greek yogurt market, saw its rival yogurt-makers take umbrage at the notion that their yogurt was the “bad stuff” to Chobani’s “good stuff.”

Chobani has been an official Team USA Olympic sponsor since 2012 when its tagline for the London Olympics was “Naturally Powering Team USA.” It used the tagline again in Sochi. For the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Chobani produced more complex mini-documentaries about Team USA skiers visiting the Chobani factory and a group of participants who lit up the desert using only pedal power.

In the last two years, Chobani has clearly learned a lesson about focus and impact. Its messaging has moved from warm and cuddly to more confident and even aggressive, evolving from the upbeat messaging of a good-for-you yogurt brand to one more aligned with, say, Nike or Under Armor.

Announcing its Team USA athletes earlier this year, Chobani Chief Marketing and Brand Officer Peter McGuinness commented, “There’s something really special for us about this partnership. We love what our Team Chobani athletes stand for both as competitors on the field and as people off the field. Like our athletes, we’ve always believed that making choices grounded in goodness and integrity pave the way to greatness. Their personal journeys of hard work, perseverance and giving back are a testament to the power of a life filled with goodness, and we’re very proud to be part of Team USA’s training on their road to Rio.”

But Chobani’s success in Rio is about more than a sharper ad campaign and evolved brand voice. If anyone remembers Chobani from 2014’s Sochi Games it is likely because of the brouhaha that erupted when Russia blocked Chobani shipments to US athletes due to Russia’s obstinate customs paperwork concerns inciting on “approved veterinary certificates.

Over 5,000 Chobani yogurt containers sat in refrigerators in New Jersey for weeks. Making no progress with Russian officials, Chobani eventually donated the yogurt. While a memorable brand story that earned it praise if not a few gray hairs, Chobani is certainly hoping this time around the brand is more associated with athletes than autocrats as it steps back into the Rings.


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