PureVia Plays Up Its ‘Natural’ Roots

One of the major competitors in the stevia category, PureVia, today announced a campaign highlighting the “naturalness” of its zero-calorie sweetener.

The campaign, via marketing agency TracyLocke, shows former professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece holding a strawberry sprinkled with PureVia and stevia leaves wrapped around her body. Above her signature is the phrase: “I take my sweetener au naturel.”

Another ad shows Reece holding a coffee mug in her hand and the text: “Using an artificial sweetener is not in my nature.”

Parent company Whole Earth Sweetener Co. has purchased a “major media buy” across Condé Nast titles such as Allure, Self, Bon Appétit and Cookie. The ads break in August publications. Through April of this year, PureVia spent $44,000 on advertising, per Nielsen. (Figure does not include online spend.)

PureVia brand director JJ Betts said the campaign marks a shift from product-focused to emotional advertising.

“We chose to have the leaves going on and off of Gabby’s body to highlight the fact that natural is beautiful and Gabby’s natural beauty and the naturalness of our product are really intertwined,” said Betts. He said the brand is investing “two thirds of [its] media weight” behind the effort, along with social media components such as Facebook and Twitter.

In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved stevia’s use as a zero-calorie sweetener, and since then, a series of ads have been unleashed. PureVia’s rival Stevia Extract In The Raw, for instance, has kicked off a campaign touting the “purity” of its sweetener. Parent Cumberland Packaging Corp., New York, has bought full-page ads in July issues of major women’s publications hitting shelves this week.

Meanwhile, Cargill has been running ads since December (ahead of the FDA’s approval), for its Truvia brand of stevia sweeteners. Like PureVia, the Cargill-owned brand is also running ads touting the naturalness of its sweetener. A spot, via Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, states: “Your sweet tooth loves this green leaf. It just doesn’t know it yet.” Cargill has also teamed up with Coca-Cola to launch stevia-sweetened Odwalla juices. (Rival Pepsi uses PureVia in beverages such as SoBe.)

PureVia, however, claims it took a different approach than competitors. “We wanted to create a memorable ad that was bold and stylish, and, at the same time, make an emotional connection,” said Sandy Stein, executive creative director at TracyLocke.

Tiffany Begoon, client service director at TracyLocke, said the campaign is likely to increase visibility for the category, allowing the PureVia brand to reach its target consumers: health-conscious women ages 25 to 40.

“There is a lot of campaignability to this [effort],” Begoon said. “The whole strategic point was it was designed by nature to be perfectly sweet and that was the inspiration for the entire campaign.”