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Brief Published: 22 Feb 2021

Chobani Courts Young Consumers with TikTok-Exclusive Flavour


American yoghurt brand Chobani chose TikTok for its recent limited-edition flavour launch – a move intended to boost brand awareness among younger consumers. The campaign leveraged the smartphone creatives we profile in Harnessing the Zeitgeist, and offers a blueprint for how food brands could engage on the video-centric platform in the future.

Chobani selected January 25 (the unofficial holiday Opposite Day) to release a new cookie-dough variety of its Flip yoghurt line, which contains yoghurt in one container, and toppings in a smaller adjacent one. The limited-edition variety reversed the proportions, offering a small portion of yoghurt and a mass of cookie-dough bites.

This update reflects the novel formats we feature in Upstreaming Everyday Edibles, as well as the zany food trends that have originated on TikTok in the past year, such as bite-sized pancakes served as cereal (see Revised Breakfast Rituals).

To sample Chobani’s new flavour (which isn’t sold in stores), TikTok users had to record a video set to the song Work It by American rapper Missy Elliott. This effectively outsourced advertising investment to users, who acted as proto-influencers promoting Chobani to their followers. The campaign’s #SwitchTheFlip hashtag now has 5.6 billion views.

This isn’t the first time Chobani has used social media to promote new products; it created a ‘tap to solve’ puzzle for Instagram Stories to launch its lactose-free yoghurt line in September 2020.

While this type of engagement is effective for raising awareness, there’s also potential to enlist fans in the product development stage – especially since Gen Z (TikTok’s primary audience) enjoys experimenting with new flavours and formats (see Gen Z Influences Future Flavour). Brands should treat TikTok not just as a marketing forum, but also as a valuable source of consumer research for product development.

For more on food brands engaging on social media, see Content for the Culinary Insperience. For more on yoghurt trends, see Dairy 2021: Sector Outlook.