‘A regular drum beat of content’: How brands like Chobani are using TikTok to reach new audiences


Chobani, this week, dropped a new, limited edition yogurt product, Chobani Flip Cookie Dough. The catch: It’s only available through TikTok. 

It’s part of Chobani’s first official TikTok campaign #SwitchTheChobaniFlip challenge. Users must create a video using the hashtag for a chance to win a case of the product. So far, the campaign, which utilizes influencers and paid media dollars, already has 2.6 billion views. A hashtag challenge has run brands $130,000, per Digiday reporting.

“It’s given a new energy to [Chobani] Flip, which is what we wanted it to do,” said Eddie Revis, vp of marketing and media at Chobani. 

The brand is looking to use the platform to reach a new audience that’s based in community of young fans and consumers of the brand. “We look at ideas that we have at Chobani and we have a need to either reach an audience or we want to bring awareness of something that we’re doing to a specific audience,” Revis said. “TikTok is now on our radar as a way to engage with that community.”

Because the campaign is still active, Revis declined to offer target metrics or digital sale numbers. He did, however, say the brand is aiming to incorporate TikTok into its media strategy more frequently.

Chobani spent $15.5 million on media throughout the first nine months of 2020, according to Kantar — that estimate excludes social media as Kantar doesn’t track social spending.

Like many brands, Chobani is embracing the communities built on social media platforms. On TikTok specifically, there are communities for cooking, fitness, professional development, mental health and more and, said Revis, Chobani wants in. 

Aside from the TikTok challenge, the brand has taken to working with TikTok influencers. Last November, the brand partnered with TikToker Lynn Davis, who has 3 million followers, for Greek Yogurt Week. The video pulled in more than 3.5 million views, according to statistics available on the platform.

While there’s interest, Revis said Chobani isn’t ready to invest in TikTok the way the brand has invested in Facebook, Instagram and sometimes Twitter. Revis also declined to share the company’s media planning, but said Chobani’s spend “drastically changes by objective and platform.” 

TikTok may be one of the fastest growing apps on the market. But with less than five years in U.S. markets, there is still brand safety concern, according to Kristin Maverick, vp of social strategy at 360i agency. 

She cited legal concerns like music licensing and even age demographics, something that’s especially limiting for alcohol brands. Consider the viral Ocean Spray-sipping TikToker on a skateboard with Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” playing in the background. Usually that would be a “heavy conversation right’s-wise,” Maverick said.

There’s a lot of potential in TikTok. But Maverick says not every brand is right for the short-form video platform.

 “When you look at the brands that have been successful, I think it’s because their community was there,” she said.

360i has leaned into TikTok strategy for the past two years. In fact, they have staff fully dedicated to TikTok creations. For Mondelez, 360i is behind TikTok accounts like Oreo, Chips Ahoy and Sour Patch Kids. A major part of their strategy is community building. 

 “[TikTok is] a little more raw. We’re creating content based on something our community created first. Acknowledging that and wanting to be part of that is huge,” she said. 

Collaboration with creators, responding to comments and tagging originators is a must, according to agency execs.

Dijana Kunovac, lead strategist at Dagger, made similar comments.

“The trick is: Brands can’t just show up when they need something from consumers or want to sell something,” Kunovac said. “They have to be actively participating with a regular drumbeat of content.”


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