New York (CNN Business)When you hear the word "Activia", the first thing you might think of is Jamie Lee Curtis. not. You might also think of an old commercial ofwhere a woman complains of irregular digestion and poop.
Danone launched Activia in the United States in 2006, a probiotic yogurt that claims to support intestinal health. Curtis became the brand's spokesperson the following year. Advertising campaigns promoting Activia's role in keeping consumers "regular" have caused some ridicule, but have also boosted sales.
After that, the brand moved from Curtis and over the years used other spokespersons to change the way products were promoted.
Today, Activia's marketing campaign is far from what it was ten years ago. The combination of new advertising and evolving consumer trends has allowed Activia to abandon its image as a spoofable digestive aid and instead place it in the trendy areas of wellness and gut health.
So far, the strategy seems to work. According to the company, sales of the brand in the United States increased from $ 472 million in 2019 to $ 506 million in 2021. Activia outperforms Light + Fit and has the potential to become Danone's number one yogurt brand in the United States this year.
However, Activia is associated with Curtis and her digestive dissatisfaction, so care must be taken not to drive away long-time customers who first picked up the product. ..
"This is a very delicate move," said Pedro Sylvaeira, president of yogurt in Danone North America. "We don't want to alienate [core customers]," he said. "But at the same time, we have to adopt a new one."
"Not all probiotics are made the same," said Miguel Freitas, vice president of health sciences in Danone. "Experts suggest that most probiotics have a strain-specific mechanism of action that is associated with a variety of benefits."
On the Activia website, yogurt for a day Eating twice for a few weeks may help reduce the frequency of mild digestive discomfort, such as flatulence, gas, abdominal discomfort, and rumbling. Combine with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
With Curtis as a spokesperson, Danone put that information into a simple message. If you want to get your bowel movements on track, eat Activia. In the commercial, Curtis explained that eating Activia helped keep her on a regular basis. From time to time, she also joined another woman who complained of digestive problems.
No one spoke clearly about defecation, but the meaning was clear.
. However, in reality, sales were skyrocketing. "At that particular moment, the campaign was very successful," said Silveira. The
Danon did not consider the parody of the campaign to be bad, Sylvaira said, and could "benefit" from such attention and use it to "participate in positive conversations." I can do it. "
A few years ago, "I saw an opportunity to revitalize the brand," Sylvaira said, explaining it as an evolution rather than a rejection of the original Curtis campaign concept. Danone has tested new commercials to make sure they aren't keeping consumers away, Silveira added. The brand is currently pointing to a renewed campaign as a growth driver.
"You sell to what people want to be, not necessarily what they are," said Bob Sample, Executive in Residence at Western Michigan University, for food and consumer goods. I teach students about marketing. He said the commercial lifestyle may be motivating for older consumers. "If you sell this to millennials, you're probably grabbed by baby boomers."
Intestinal Health Quest
Danone Develops Marketing Campaign As a result, more and more consumers began to look for probiotics and pursue so-called intestinal health.
In a 2021 report, research firm Mintel said that when asked which benefits encouraged more yogurt, about 34% of respondents pointed to gut health. rice field.
Claire Lancaster, senior strategist on the food and beverage team at WGSN, an epidemic forecaster, said interest in probiotics actually began during the pandemic.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a surge in conversations about [intestinal health]," she said. "Since then, it's gaining momentum."
Online, young consumers are "calling for the particular [probiotic] strains they want to consume," Lancaster said. “Becoming hyper-aware is pretty trendy.”
Samples suggest that young consumers consider probiotics a kind of recovery aid. "The idea of many young people is that if you eat enough yogurt, you can eat a lot of french fries," the sample said.
In addition, yogurt sales are generally growing, especially through the Covid-19 pandemic. According to research firm Euromonitor, retail sales of yogurt in the United States increased from $ 9 billion in 2019 to $ 9.3 billion in 2021.
Activia also takes other approaches to seduce consumers. Example: The drinkable version of Activia, sold in bottles, allowsconsumers to drink the producton the go. "The yogurt drink segment will drive post-pandemic growth," Mintel said in her report.
Among new ads, new varieties, and gut health epidemics, Activia looks very different from today's customers. Sylvaira believes that young Activia consumers were "not exposed to the Jamie Lee Curtis campaign" and does not associate her commercial message with the product. The
sample agreed that consumers generally have short-term memory such as marketing, but said that they remember a few things.
"Everyone remembers Jamie, who led the commercial, but you probably don't know what the message was, except that many people made fun of the yogurt that made you poop.