The 2007 Cassies Logo  

Activia serves up
a challenge to Canadians

GOLD :: Sustained Success
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OVERVIEW: A six-year story with remarkable results.

SITUATION ANALYSIS: Activia is a delicious yogurt with a unique probiotic culture called B.L. Regularis,� which promotes regularity and the healthy functioning of the digestive system. For Activia's 2004 launch this was an undeniable competitive advantage, because half of all Canadians have digestive problems. There were two drawbacks, however. First, "regularity" and "probiotic culture" were not the most appetizing things for a yogurt to talk about. Second, Health Canada legislation prevented Activia from claiming specific health benefits. In other words, Activia could not talk directly about its unique selling point. In addition, it would sell at a 10% to 30% premium to regular yogurts.

STRATEGY & INSIGHT: Research showed that when women have digestive problems they want to be alone, to dress comfortably, stay on the sofa and wait until the symptoms disappear. In contrast, when they are better they feel active and free, ready to face the world. This inspired the "dance" creative used at launch. Later, it became clear that people were not consuming Activia over the optimal period of 14 continuous days, and the solution to this was a campaign based on a 14-Day Challenge. Still later, it emerged that there were a good many women who were not Activia consumers, and the message became more specific, shifting its focus from the body to the belly.

EXECUTION: All creative has made extensive use of "Activia Green" with a yellow arrow pointing downward on a woman's abdomen. TV for the first three years featured dancing scenarios, which then evolved in 2008 to the "belly square" - a visual of a belly dancer's shimmying stomach superimposed on the midriffs of women in the commercials. Media followed a building block strategy where each medium had a specific objective: television for awareness, magazines and the internet for education, and POS to stimulate purchase intent.

RESULTS: The business grew relentlessly from 2004 to 2009, with dollar share reaching 1.0, 4.2, 7.1, 16.0, 18.9, 21.0 in successive years. Activia took over as Canada's #1 yogurt in 2007, and now has sales of a quarter billion dollars.

CAUSE & EFFECT: The product played a role in this success, but in this, as in many markets, a good product alone will not produce results such as these. The advertising has been extensively researched, with impressive results on all key variables (data were supplied). And in the ultimate endorsement, the belly square idea has been exported to a number of other countries.

Yan Sirera - VP Marketing
Ben Angeloni - Marketing Director
Fleur Parnet - Senior Brand Manager
Mike Tran - Assistant Brand Manager

Saint-Jacques Vallée Y&R
Nathalie Fortier - Director & Strategic Planner
Janie Thériault - Senior Account Executive
Manuel Ferrarini - Art Director
Martin Snape - Copywriter