Chobani, the King of Greek Yogurt, Doesn’t Try to Sell Itself as Greek Yogurt

May 2, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

America’s top Greek yogurt brand Chobani is launching a new ad campaign to promote its yogurt as part of living a healthy, natural lifestyle.

Beginning Friday, Chobani will run the ads on television, online, in movie theaters, and in print, the New York Times reported.

Ad agency Opperman Weiss helped come up with the campaign, including the tagline, “to love this life is to live it naturally.”

Its ad spots, released onto YouTube Thursday, depict pastoral scenes—and make no mention of its distinguishing qualities as Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is strained to remove the layer of whey, resulting in a yogurt that is thicker in consistency and tarter in flavor than conventional American yogurts.

In one ad, a family is walking through green fields, caked in mud. The commercial ends with the daughter dousing everyone with a hose.

In another, a man is sitting on the steps of his sunlit porch, eating his Chobani yogurt, while a dairy cow silently watches. After he finishes his last spoonful, he gets up to walk with the cow off into the pastures.

Chobani was founded in 2005 by Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya, who opened his yogurt plant in South Edmeston, N.Y. The company’s name means “shepherd” in Turkish. At the time, the only other Greek yogurt brand available in stores was Fage, a company based in Athens, Greece.

By 2011, Chobani was the top-selling yogurt brand in the country. Today, major yogurt companies like Dannon and Yoplait have their own Greek yogurt lines to compete with Chobani’s spot as the top purveyor.

In a 2013 New York magazine profile of his business, Ulukaya explained that when he first started out, he pushed for Chobani yogurt to be placed in grocery stores’ dairy aisle, not in the specialty food section. He didn’t want Greek yogurt to be a niche product.

“We designed this product for everyone. Yogurt should not be a specialty item. It should be normal,” Ulukaya told New York Magazine.

Though Chobani was the brand that propelled Greek yogurt to ubiquity, the company didn’t intend to distinguish itself by being Greek.

Though Chobani was the brand that propelled Greek yogurt to ubiquity—the latest market research said Greek yogurt makes up more than half of the total yogurt market—the company didn’t intend to distinguish itself by being Greek.

Ulukaya said in a company video that when he started in 2005, his intention was to make “a real, good, simple yogurt.” He spent 18 months perfecting the recipe.

Today, the company owns about 39 percent of the Greek yogurt market and is still the No.1 brand. With this latest campaign, Chobani hopes to attract more Americans who care about healthy eating habits.

“We’re going to have one foot squarely in the Greek yogurt space, and we’re going to have one foot leaning into a more aspirational lifestyle space,” Chobani’s chief marketing and brand officer Peter McGuinness told the New York Times.

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