Chobani has been rapped over the knuckles by ad watchdog the National Advertising Division (NAD*) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus over its ‘Farmland’ ad, which implied that its Simply 100 Greek yogurts came straight from the farm, while competing products were made in labs from “fake milk” and "powdered chemicals" .
The ad - which featured a ‘synthetic’ farm (where ‘other 100-calorie yogurts’ are made from 'artificial ingredients' found in dangling test tubes); and Chobani's ‘real’ farm (complete with crates of fresh fruit and cows) - falsely implied that rival products were "fake" and "unhealthy", complained rival General Mills.
And as it is the market leader in the 100-calorie Greek segment, consumers would assume that General Mills' Yoplait Greek 100 was the butt of Chobani’s joke, even though its name was not mentioned in the ad, said the firm.
But Chobani -which has itself complained to NAD about General Mills’ recent ‘taste test’ campaign - said its ad was “playful”, and that no reasonable consumer would believe it was stating that competitors’ products were all “fake”.
But NAD disagreed and told Chobani to drop the TV ad and modify its online version, although it could promote the fact that it used only natural sweeteners in Simply 100, whereas rivals did not.
Chobani said it was “disappointed” with NAD’s decision, but said ‘Farmland’ had already run its scheduled course.
*NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.