Celebrity cachet creates buzz for yogurt's US launch

PepsiCo and the Theo Müller Group entered into a joint venture called Müller Quaker Dairy to distribute Müller's premium yogurt in the US.

Client: Müller Quaker Dairy (Chicago)
Agency: Current Lifestyle Marketing (Chicago)
Campaign: Müller Yogurt National Debut
Duration: July - August 2013
Budget: about $300,000

PepsiCo and the Theo Müller Group entered into a joint venture called Müller Quaker Dairy in July 2012 to distribute Müller's premium yogurt in the US. The yogurt was released in phases across regional markets before becoming available nationwide this past summer.

Müller Quaker Dairy and AOR Current Lifestyle Marketing ran a PR campaign to raise awareness and drive trial.

An ad campaign launched in June 2013 when the yogurt became widely available across the US.

Actress and new mom Malin Akerman was enlisted as spokesperson and helped drive PR messaging through media relations and social media engagement.

“We needed earned media to inform and incent consumers to try our new yogurt,” says Müller Quaker Dairy's director of communications Scott Gilmore. “We also needed to leverage a relevant celebrity [with an] authentic and buzz-worthy voice to target consumers nationally...as we launched the brand.”

Agency EVP Amy Colton says Akerman is a genuine fan of the yogurt and is relevant to its target audience of moms and women.

“She's very smart and witty and that embodies Müller's brand equity,” Colton adds. “She also had just had her first baby and her ABC show Trophy Wife had just been announced, so consumers and media were interested to hear from her.”

The team used Akerman to tease four new flavors on Müller yogurt's Facebook page July 9 by posting an image of a female silhouette, giving clues to her identity, and asking fans to guess who she was. Her identity and the new yogurt flavors were revealed on the page the following day.

Akerman shared tips for busy new moms and communicated key product messages during interviews with traditional media and bloggers covering entertainment, pop culture, and women's interest topics on July 10, 11, and 12.

A photo album of the new flavors was also posted to the Facebook page and a behind-the-scenes video of Akerman giving media interviews was posted on all of the brand's online platforms and on Ackerman's social media pages.

Akerman hosted a Twitter party on July 11, and regularly tweeted about the brand between July 10 and 12.

Müller Quaker Dairy would not provide specific sales information, but did report “higher sales in the eight weeks surrounding the campaign,” and “continued growth in sales and share during the marketing time period.”

The campaign garnered 2,260 earned placements (more than 128 million impressions) in outlets such as US Weekly, Access Hollywood, Women's Health, and Popsugar.com. The agency says 94% of coverage was positive and 90% included key messaging.

Facebook posts about Akerman generated more than 1,500 likes, more than 170 comments, and 30 shares.

Twitter reach hit 392,496. The agency notes a July 10 Twitter post with a picture of Akerman and the four new flavors created the biggest spike in the handle's history.

Gilmore is mum regarding future plans, simply noting that the team is “in the midst of planning for 2014.”

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