“Oikos is really a brand that is all about boldly challenging the conventions of healthy eating, particularly about yogurt, and so our Super Bowl campaigns over the last few years, including this one in 2023 are really designed to help change that perception of yogurt as boring, particularly among millennials and younger consumers,” said Surbhi Martin, vice president, Greek Yogurt & Functional Nutrition at Danone North America.
She explained to FoodNavigator-USA, “the way we do that is with a really unexpected, fun, humorous Super Bowl campaign year after year.”
This year’s ad brings back Sanders as a yogurt-fueled athlete and family man who is challenged by his extended family at a reunion when he boasts that he is the strongest Sanders while stirring a cup of Oikos yogurt.
He is immediately confronted by his son and celebrated college football quarter back Shedeur Sanders crushing a football and declaring “this is strong.” He in turn is tackled by his sister and rising basketball star Shelomi who boasts “how is that for strong” after knocking him to the ground.
Deion Sander’s sister Tracie doesn’t want to be left and shows her strength by batting a football pinata, while Deion’s other son and college football safety Shilo asks if anyone else can pull a massive smoking barbeque pit like he can.
The twist comes with “Old Time Prime Time” smashes a picnic table full of food – showing age isn’t a factor for determining strength.
The ad closes with three types of Oikos yogurt – Oikos Pro, Oikos Triple Zero and Oikos blended Greek yogurt – thudding on another picnic table with the tagline “Stronger Makes Everything Better," reinforcing the opening image of each family member opening a different Oikos variety to fuel their feats of strength and family fun.
“What is so wonderful, I think, about this approach of using the family – and specifically the Sanders family – is that connection back to strength and the connection to a variety of family members who have a variety of different nutritional needs to fuel their strength,” and which Oikos' diverse line-up can meet, Martin said.
She added that the Super Bowl is a “highly relevant cultural moment for us to have a conversation with consumers about strength and health and fitness, because people are really tuning in to watch strong men compete.”
A big investment, but also a big payout
Investing in a Super Bowl ad is no small feat considering a 30-second spot comes with an eye-popping $7m price tag, but Martin says the return on invest is worth it as is the consumer activation that lasts all year.
For the past three years that Oikos ran ads during the Super Bowl, Martin said the brand saw a double-digit sales lift after it turned on media surrounding its game day campaign.
She added, last year, Oikos saw a 17% sales lift in the six weeks after the Super Bowl versus the six weeks before the game. This momentum continued throughout the rest of the year with sales for the brand growing 20.9% for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 1, 2023.
The brand makes the most of the spot by building around it a full game day campaign that includes TV, social, PR, owned shopper marketing giveaways and in-store displays at retail as well as on the ground activation that will occur this year in Phoenix during Super Bowl week.
“We already are live with national in-store signage, which went live Jan. 23, and that signage is national and will continue through Feb. 19,” Martin said.
“We also have a national scan and score sweepstakes via QR code at the shelf that has been in stores since Jan. 1 and will continue through March 31, which offers consumers who participate the chance to win a packed-out home gaming cooler kit. And this is the first time we’ve had a national scan and score sweepstakes,” she added.
With these additions, Martins says she is optimistic the brand “can bean ourselves at our own game.”
'A strong pipeline of disruptive innovation’
Beyond the Super Bowl and game day campaign, Martin says Oikos plans to build additional excitement around the brand with a full year of media that will continue to challenge the perception of yogurt as boring.
“We also have a strong pipeline of disruptive innovation that will serve consumers seeking higher protein with the Oikos brand, which we will begin launching into the market in the second half of 2023 as well as the first half of 2024,” said Martin, adding like the existing line-up the new products will offer consumers “multiple choices that are all high protein across format types and protein levels to meet all their protein needs across generations and throughout their day.”
Oikos examins inequities hindering access to nutrition, fitness
While Oikos is taking a light-hearted approach to promoting Oikos, the brand also is tackling the heavy issue of inequities “that stand in the way of building strength by increasing access to nutrition and fitness resources where the needs are greatest.”
While there are many life stages at which healthy nutrition is essential to positive development, Oikos is focusing on the college years, which Martin describes as “formative in shaping life skills and long-term healthy habits.”
Many higher education schools, “especially historically Black colleges and universities are under-resourced and underfunded when it comes to providing students with the nutrition and fitness programs and resources that they need,” said Martin.
“So this year,” she said, “Oikos has an ambition to partner with HBCUs and schools, community partners and health and fitness experts to better understand the issues and barriers that students face in the pathways to strength. And we want to help collaborate to create equitable, sustainable solutions to fuel that next generation of strong healthy adults.”