New SoyJoy Ads Tout Health Benefits

Soybeans are the second-biggest crop in the U.S., claiming about 76 million acres (compared to 85 million for corn), so it may be somewhat surprising that when DDB’s San Francisco office got the SoyJoy account this March, its first mission was to explain to Americans that soy is a plant.

Initial DDB ads talked about the history of soy, and SoyJoy’s Web site includes a timeline of the crop going back to the 28th century B.C. With New Year’s just around the corner, though, SoyJoy and DDB are moving into phase two of the campaign: Touting soy’s health benefits.

A new animated spot from DDB explains that the product, produced by Pharmavite, contains protein, fiber and antioxidants, and shows how the soybeans are mixed with fruit and baked to make the SoyJoy bars.

Jim Bosiljevac, creative director at DDB, said the target is mostly women with active lifestyles who “eat a lot of whole foods.” Bosiljevac said the brand has a decent awareness with the target demo, but those women may not be clear on soy’s benefits. “There are a lot of myths about soy,” he said. “We’re just trying to keep it positive.”

Those “myths” include soy’s relationship with breast cancer, a link that the Journal of the American Medical Association disputes in its Dec. 9 issue. The JAMA study actually shows consumption of soy helps women avoid a recurrence of breast cancer. “Some people believe it’s a poison and others think it’s a panacea for anything that ails you,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health and New York University. “I think the truth lies somewhere in between.”

The timing of the JAMA study was fortuitous for SoyJoy, which is launching the TV, print and online campaign next week. To reach those active women, the campaign includes tie-ins with MapMyFitness, a site that helps runners map their local routes; and ExerciseTV, a digital network that provides workout plans and exercise tips. Spending for the campaign was not disclosed. The brand spent $32 million on measured media through October of 2009 and $33 million for all of 2008, per the Nielsen Co.