Soy-Milk Sales Boom Leads to First TV Ads

Soy milk’s growing popularity has led White Wave to launch the first TV effort for its Silk brand.

“Soy milk has become mainstream, [so] we’re finally able to use mainstream media to communicate our brand message,” said Mary Adams, director of marketing at the Boulder, Colo.-based client.

Two 30-second spots from Arnold, Boston, are testing this month in Philadelphia, along with print, promotions and grassroots marketing. White Wave spent an estimated $15-20 million on advertising in 2002.

In one execution, a strip of bacon and some cheese enlist the aid of a foil-wrapped item to plan the demise of a carton of soy milk. The foil asks: “What is the problem?” The bacon points to the Silk and says, “That’s the problem!” The cheese says, “He’s soy—all natural and organic. They’re even using him on their breakfast cereal!” The foil says the Silk will take a “nasty spill,” but is thrown out as the spot ends.

Sales of Silk have jumped from $10 million in 1999 to almost $200 million for the year that ended Jan. 26, giving Silk almost 75 percent of the market, according to research firm Information Resources.

White Wave’s most recent print work dared consumers to be open-minded about soy milk and used the tagline, “Don’t be so stubborn.” The spots have no tag.

“A lot of times soy advertising gears toward the nutty, crunchy, healthy message—we’re trying to break down the barriers and say this can be part of your diet,” said Wade Devers, associate creative director and art director at Arnold.