My latest blog post for Ministers of Design
Chobani’s latest ad, part of their “Love This Life” campaign, is certainly high on the cheesy content (apropos for a dairy brand, no?). When I first started watching it, the message I got was “this poor soccer Mom has such few sensory enjoyments in life that she is supposed to be thrown into near-orgasmic paroxysms of delight upon the consumption of yogurt…in some exotic locale straight out of Eat, Pray, Love.” No, seriously–see for yourself. Yet, the “stunning reveal” at the end of the ad–that the ever-ubiquitous snoozing husband is, in fact, a wife is meant to somehow make this edgy!? Confusing, yes; controversial, hardly. It’s yogurt, for Pete’s sakes. Hardly transformative.
Yet, of all of the other “Love This Life” ads, I would say this one is probably the least confusing. Take a look at the 90-second anthem spot, created by Oppermann Weiss. “This is a modern American story,” Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness told Adweek. “It’s a family, and we don’t know what happened with them. Something happened that involved the kids. And then they work through it as a family. And they come out of it stronger and better and closer.” Ummm, OK…I would probably describe this more like a riff on Blue Valentine–a tinge Southern gothic and not even a smidgeon…yogurty. So, how is it that this ad is supposed to convince me to buy Chobani!?
“The point is, Chobani doesn’t see a pretend world—the world of most yogurt commercials. It sees the real world. And when viewers see the authentic, real-life moments in the ads, they may be more inclined to believe the realness of the brand.
It’s an approach that almost turns Chobani into a lifestyle brand—if you buy the lifestyle here, you well may buy the products, too.” Eureka! The so-called lifestyle brand–if I am able to relate to the “realness” and “authenticity” of the lifestyle portrayed in the ads, I am to immediately assume that also translates to Chobani’s “real” and “natural” products. Interesting.
What is a lifestyle brand, you might ask. “Lifestyle Brands,” associate themselves firmly with a particular way of life. They deliver strong social benefits through which a consumer will be able to subconsciously answer the question, “when I buy this brand, the type of people I relate to are…” They create a sense of belonging or disrupt the status quo. So, Nike aligns people who want to push their limits. Club Med connects those who wish to communicate; The Body Shop, those who value nature.
A lifestyle brand will almost always originally connect with young consumers and represent change. Brands such as Apple, Virgin, and Nike initially grew from a youthful community before convincing more people that adopting them would amplify their personal ethos or identity.
So, to get back to the same-sex couple in the ad. They are a part of “modern American stories.”
“For us, it’s why not [feature a same-sex couple]—not why,” said Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness. “There’s nothing new here, per se. Inclusion and equality has been and is foundational and fundamental to the company.”
Fair enough. In conclusion, gay couples are just as vulnerable to cheeziness and schmaltz, apparently. Sorry to be such a cynic, but see the ad and tell me that it is not cringe-inducingly saccharine (despite the seemingly low sugar content of that particular yogurt). I would dair-ily appreciate your thoughts.