Many a dairy brand have been trying to figure out how to pivot their offerings toward the perceived protein needs of men. That's how the whole phenomenon of chocolate milk as a workout "recovery" drink got started, and that's the positioning that has made hits out of tailored dairy-based products such as Muscle Milk.
Now a major brand known for a whole other kind of dairy wants to muscle in on the action. Dannon USA as been advertising in Men's Health magazine depicting its Oikos yogurt as a dose of protein that even men can appreciate. "The New Protein" ad depicts Oikos inside a hamburger bun, for example, on a grill with chicken breasts and in an egg container to underscore the fact that, as a Greek-style yogurt product, Oikos carries even more of a protein punch than regular yogurt.
Men's purchases likely would only ever become a sliver of overall demand for Oikos, which ranked as not only the most successful US new-product launch of 2012 among CPG brands, as evaluated by SymphonyIRI, but the most successful such launch since 2009.
"It's an initial foray for us to be marketing to men, but we believe there's a terrific opportunity there for us because the product is so well-suited for men who are particularly interested in managing their health and looking carefully at their diet," Michael Neuwirth, senior director of public relations for Dannon USA, told brandchannel.
"The message really is about protein. You think of it as protein first; and it's yogurt. And of course it comes without the saturated fat and sodium of a hamburger. It's a simple nutrition message" that "can appeal very much to the health-conscious male, especially younger and middle-aged men."
This isn't the first time that Dannon USA believed it could succeed in peddling yogurt to American men with an oblique approach. Several years ago, the brand fielded a yogurt-drink brand, Frusion, with heavy messaging as "an on-the-go meal replacement for young guys," Neuwirth recalled. While Frusion "was a popular product for some time, it didn't sell in a sustainable or meaningful way." Dannon sold Frusion in 2007.
Neuwirth said that Dannon's marketing of Oikos to men has been restricted to Men's Health for the moment. "It's a learning experience for us," he said. "We're confident, but we'll see how it goes."