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Danone’s Light + Fit brand invests in digital video ad spend, but won’t let go of linear TV

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Danone-owned yogurt brand Light + Fit is doubling down on its streaming ad strategy. It’s investing in Netflix for the first time in addition to other streaming services, with the goal of better targeting younger consumers.

Last month, the 34-year-old brand announced an effort to modernize and garner a bigger share of millennial and Gen Z attention without alienating its core older demographic. Part of that effort hones in on expanding Light + Fit’s digital video investment, namely adding Netflix to its media mix alongside Hulu and YouTube, as well as linear television spots.

“We really had to make some key pivots and key shifts in our media strategy, and [media] buy, in order to reach our ambition,” said Surbhi Martin, vp of greek yogurt and functional nutrition at Danone North America. “We want to both shift our media mix to recruit that younger consumer in premium digital while also retaining our core through some existing linear TV buys.”

Traditionally, Light + Fit’s media buys were anchored in traditional, linear television spots, Martin said. But in an effort to modernize and reach cord cutters, digital video has become a bigger piece of the pie. As a result, the yogurt brand has increased its media budget. (Martin declined to offer further details.)

Last year, digital advertising accounted for 39% of Light + Fit’s media mix, per Martin. This year, that figure has climbed to 64%. Beyond that, marketing and ad efforts are amplified via PR, search and social to round out a robust media mix, she added. 

It’s unclear how much of Light + Fit’s digital ad spend goes solely to streaming ads, as Martin declined to outline specific figures. But last year, Light + Fit spent $5.3 million on media, significantly less than the $12.3 million spent in 2021, according to Vivvix, including paid social data from Pathmatics. 

Recently, advertisers have been giving digital video a bigger slice of the media spend pie, including brands like Merrell footwear, Dr Teal’s self-care and wellness line and Adore Me, a women’s intimate brand.

In fact, earlier this year, Digiday+ Research revealed that agencies’ clients are more likely to invest in connected TV, like streaming ads, over traditional TV. To put it into numbers, more than a quarter of agency professionals whose clients spend on television advertising spend a moderate amount of their budget on CTV, and nearly a third spend a larger portion on the channel.

“Streaming can offer brands ‘eyeballs’ that are paying attention and who are more likely to care about what your brand is selling,” Abby Hill, senior strategy director at ad agency Dagger, said in an email to Digiday. “For a brand, this results in awareness and a direct brand action to a highly qualified audience.”

Some brands, like Chips Ahoy, have all but sunsetted linear TV ad budgets in favor of more digital channels. However, that strategy isn’t in the cards for Light + Fit. The brand will maintain its linear ad budget to reach its core audience, which “skews a little bit older,” per Martin. “In order to continue to maintain our core, we have to remain relevant and continue to show up in the channels where they are,” she said. 

But, should there be the need to pivot, Light + Fit will, she added. 

“If it doesn’t work, we’ll always be agile, we’ll always be [willing to] pivot,” Martin said, “especially with our media investments across channels to ensure we restore the brand to growth and recruit new households.” 

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