By B.L. Ochman
Chobani has only been around for six years, but it’s already is the largest selling Greek yogurt in the United States. Social media marketing has always been a big part of the brand identity.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, there was a severe Chobani shortage because Russia blocked the shipment of 5,000 containers intended for the U.S. Olympic team, demanding a ridiculous amount of customs paperwork.
Senator Chuck Schumer got involved, telling the Russians to “get past ‘nyet’ and let this prime sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes.”
But Chobani declined to comment. Wisely, as it turns out.
Chobani’s chief marketing and brand officer Peter McGuinness told Digiday that the company was conflicted about it, but didn’t leap on the Sochi Winter Olympics’ “great yogurt blockade” as a real-time marketing opportunity
“We didn’t have to do so much with it. You can argue it’s as a missed opportunity, but organically it spread more quickly and more genuinely — 100 million impressions on Twitter and 380 million impressions overall. I don’t think we missed an opportunity. That was $70 million of media value, unpaid.”
During the games, Chobani also denounced Russia’s anti-gay stance – pretty unusual for brand! “We’re young and entrepreneurial,” McGuinness said, adding that Chobani wants to contrast itself to the big brands it competes with in every way: “culture, communication, the way we make our products.”
It’s refreshing to hear a brand stand not be afraid to take a stand, or shoot its mouth off.