Dannon USA hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl before, but executives of the American arm of France's Groupe Danone know a good Super Bowl ad when they see one.
"It has to be memorable," Michael Newirth, senior director of communications for Dannon USA, told brandchannel. "It tends to have a healthy dose of humor. And usually it's got some element of surprise. And you can expect to see some of all of those in [the ad] we share on February 5."
And actually, Dannon has given a lot away already about what its first-ever ad in the Big Game will entail.
The spot will run during the third quarter and will shine on Dannon's Oikos Greek-style yogurt brand; it will feature John Stamos, the actor who starred in a previous Oikos spot (check it out below) last summer; it will be heavily integrated with an overall marketing campaign running from social media to supermarkets before and after the Super Bowl; and the creative has been "crowdsourced among a select group of top talent in collaboration with" Poptent, the crowdsourced video-production company, Dannon revealed in a statement.
It's a point of pride for Dannon that, the way the brand sees it, the Oikos spot will be the first ever for a truly better-for-you food product during the Super Bowl. "The closest anyone ever has come is Rolled Gold Pretzels and Baked Lays Chips," said Neuwirth, who researched the issue back through 1995. "Our intention is to create a lasting impression about Dannon Oikos, and our ambition is to grow the consumption of yogurt."
If it weren't for the red-hot Greek-style segment of the yogurt business these days, growing at strong double digits each year lately, the entire category would be moribund. Consumption of regular varieties of Dannon, Yoplait and other yogurts, as well as those aimed especially at kids, have been flat for a few years. But Americans keep gobbling up the Greek, and Chobani has been winning market share while rivals such as Fage and Kraft's Athenos brand are rising, too.
Oikos, by the way, is a registered trademark of Stonyfield Farm that's used under license by The Dannon Company. Confusing matters: Stonyfield Farm sells Oikos branded Greek yogurt, too, but its version is organic — a fine point that Super Bowl viewers, and shoppers in the dairy aisle at the grocery store, can't be expected to discern.
Even assuming Super Bowl viewers may watch the Oikos Super Bowl TV commercial with interest and the spot raises brand awareness, Neuwirth and his colleagues don't expect a change in behavior overnight.
"Our objective is not to change snacking habits during the Super Bowl," Neuwirth concedes. "No one is going to leave [watching] the game to buy Oikos. This is about building our brands and awareness."
Below, watch the 2011 Oikos spot with Stamos — and let us know what you think of this Super Bowl ad strategy in the comments below.