Yoplait Greek Opts For Taste-Off Strategy



The Greek yogurt category's explosive sales growth has also spawned intense competition.

The top brands, Chobani and Danone's Oikos, are locked in a massive battle. Since 2011, when Danone began aggressively marketing the brand, Oikos's share has jumped from 18% to 29%, and Chobani's has declined from nearly half to 39%, per Sanford C. Bernstein estimates cited by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Little wonder then, that the two leaders both invested in Super Bowl commercials this year. The presence of one virtually ensured the presence of the other.

Instead of trying to go head-to-head in the Super Bowl arena, General Mills's Yoplait Greek -- which got a late start in the Greek race and last year had a 6.5% share (behind #3 Fage, which had an 8.5% share, according to Bernstein) -- has opted for a different strategy. 

Last year, the brand introduced a strained Greek formula that's a blend of slow-fermenting cultures, with real fruit pieces blended in.

Now, it's touting the results of a nationwide, double-blind taste test of Yoplait Greek blueberry versus Chobani blueberry (which has its fruit on the bottom), which found that 65%, or nearly two out of three, consumers preferred the Yoplait.

"We're using numerous channels, including social media, television and in-store taste tests, to achieve broad reach," Yoplait Greek's integrated marketing manager, Seth Pedersen, tells Marketing Daily

The Yoplait Greek Taste-Off campaign launched late last month, with a TV spot showing real consumers trying both brands of Greek. (Blueberry was chosen for the test because that flavor is a leading seller in the Greek category, and no other flavors were tested, according to Pedersen.)

Yoplait Greek also operated a pop-up store in Manhattan's SoHo district -- just 300 yards away from Chobani's --for three days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

The heart of the campaign is encouraging consumers to do their own taste tests, then use the hashtag #TasteOff to share their takes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and visit  the campaign's dedicated site, GreekTasteOff.tumblr.com, to view others' opinions. (Comments both favoring and not favoring Yoplait Greek are on view on the site.) 

The first 5,000 visitors to the site who registered were sent free "kits" to conduct their own taste tests at home, including small gift cards to buy servings of Yoplait Greek and Chobani for that purpose. The site is currently featuring a 50-cent coupon for Yoplait Greek.

The Facebook page for the overall Yoplait brand, which is prominently featuring and promoting the Yoplait Greek Taste-Off, is currently showing more than 1.2 million "likes." Yoplait Greek has its own Twitter account, currently showing about 3,000 followers, and the same number of tweets. (The general Yoplait Twitter account shows nearly 60,000 followers.) 

Digital and out-of-home advertising and public relations, as well as social, are being employed to drive awareness and engagement for the Taste-Off.

The other major campaign component is live Taste-Off events, which are being run at hundreds of grocery stores across the country, according to Pedersen. 

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