This Protein Bar Brand Created a Quirky, Absurdist World to Promote Their Tasty Snacks

It's the first national campaign for Lenny & Larry's

Hey, bud.
Lenny & Larry's

A couple of anthropomorphized taste buds have experienced their fair share of chalky, cardboard-like protein bars, so they’re not excited about whatever’s coming down the pike.

But they spring to life when they get a helping of Lenny & Larry’s cookies, high-fiving each other, grabbing all the pieces they can and gloating in front of their dinner guests.

The buds, red jumpsuit-wearing BFFs named Scott and LaTasteshia, star in the brand’s first national campaign, a series of 15-second spots that take their inspiration from the Starburst school of absurdist humor.

The work, from Red Bull’s AOR Kastner, introduces the tagline, “Shockingly delicious,” and borrows from Barton F. Graf’s wacky playbook to hype Lenny & Larry’s, a Los Angeles-based line of protein-rich snacks.

“The goal was to unlock the entertainment value of the brand,” says Brandon Rochon, Kastner’s CEO, who cites the whole Skittles oeuvre as a precedent. “So we created this silly, fun world, something that could keep living five years from now.”

The intentionally goofy approach wasn’t a tough sell, Rochon says, given that Lenny & Larry’s wants to boost its awareness in the crowded and fast-growing better-for-you snack category.

“They want to be relevant, and they were open to all ideas,” he says. “And they’re a round product in a rectangular world.”

It also helps that Lenny & Larry’s has a cheeky personality baked into its origin story. Benny Graham and Barry Turner, two bodybuilders in Venice, Calif., launched the brand in 1993 but decided the names Lenny and Larry were funnier than their own. A brand that initially took off with gym rats at Muscle Beach was born. (It’s now sold in national grocery, mass, convenience and health food stores).

The bulk of the brand’s marketing so far has focused on sampling, in-store displays and a few sports sponsorships (the L.A. Kings hockey team). This multimillion-dollar campaign, premiering on OTT channels like Hulu and Buzzfeed’s Tasty, is its most considerable effort to date.

The snack line has recently refreshed its packaging, added new flavors for the flagship, and debuted vegan Complete Crunchy Cookies. Aiming for growth and looking for “active achievers” and other health-conscious millennials, brand execs blessed the unconventional spots.

“The category is super fragmented, and there are a lot of cliches in the communications,” says Megan Crossland, Lenny & Larry’s vp, marketing. “We wanted to dispel the notion that healthy is boring and tell people that nutrition can be vibrant and full of taste. We think this shows us as playful and unique.”