Behind Dannon Light + Fit’s yogurt rebrand

Danone’s Surbhi Martin on how different yogurt brands are meeting consumer needs.

Behind Dannon Light + Fit’s yogurt rebrand

While Fage introduced Greek yogurt to the U.S. in 1998, the category did not take off until 2009 with the rise of Chobani. Since then, Greek yogurt has continued to grow from $4 billion in the U.S. in 2018, to an estimated $5 billion this year, according to Grand View Research.

But with growth, comes fragmentation and specialization—different brands now meet consumers' needs for higher protein, lower sugar, or no sugar options. Dairy giant Danone is among the marketers trying to find its place in this environment. Surbhi Martin, VP of Greek yogurt and functional nutrition at the company, joined Ad Age's Marketer’s Brief podcast to talk about the state of the category, and what Danone’s Dannon Light + Fit brand is aiming for with its recent rebrand.

“The entire rebrand was really intended to reignite growth for the Light + Fit brand, by recruiting a younger consumer, while also maintaining a really loyal core user base,” Martin said.

More from Ad Age: Danone set to consolidate global creative

Through consumer insights, Martin’s team found that potential customers saw Light + Fit as their “mom’s yogurt” and a diet brand. Digging deeper, they discovered that younger consumers were tired of dieting, and wanted to feel more in control around food.

“You tend to only want more of the thing that you deny yourself,” Martin said. “And so as we were thinking about the rebranding, we thought, ‘You know, what if we took that human tension around and denial of cravings, and actually flipped that relationship?’ Instead of denying yourself, what if you said yes to yourself, and gave in to the cravings and sort of celebrated them?”

That led to all new packaging and new ads from agency Orchard and directed by Malia James. The spots feature a female protagonist who doesn’t have to sacrifice health or taste when it comes to yogurt.

Martin also oversees the Oikos and Two Good brands. On the podcast, she discussed growth opportunities on the horizon, including marketing around next year’s Super Bowl.

More Marketer’s Brief: Oikos emphasizes strength in its ads 

“We're already having conversations about Oikos for the Big Game in 2024,” she said. “We’re planning to put user-generated content and influencers very much at the center of our campaign for next year, so that we can continue to recruit and remain relevant, particularly for a younger consumer on that particular brand. But we also want to make sure that social media is much more of a starting point for our campaigns, as opposed to something that we tack on at the end.”

She is also keeping an eye on what's happening around yogurt drinks, which resonate with multicultural and younger consumers and could gain popularity as more people return to office, school or travel.

“We’ve seen year-to-date growth, we saw it last year, and I think there is just tremendous potential for this format,” she said.