Branded Content in Action: Luna Bar’s ‘Debunking the Diet’ Series

Two very interesting food biz facts:

  1. Nutrition bars are one of the “three fastest growing foods in the country” along with yogurt and–in case you thought we’d all gone healthy–potato chips. 
  2. Luna Bar now dominates the “nutrition bars for women” market despite the fact that company spent a paltry $122,000 on advertising in 2011.

How do they do it? Great PR and branding. Luna’s latest venture into the world of branded content may be its most effective: In a web short series titled “Debunking the Diet,” Luna brings its new “Feed Your Strength” tagline to life, asking women on the street for their thoughts on common dietary myths before bringing in nutritional experts to sort the facts from the fictions. Here’s the first episode, which deals with the common belief that it’s unhealthy to eat after 8:

Impressive, right? The series is a great case study in the value of high-quality branded content. Here’s the deal:

Luna knows that most American women prefer not to endure lectures on nutrition, so the company went for the comedy angle, hiring Funny or Die veteran Erin Gibson to host and put a lighthearted spin on the very serious nutritional concerns addressed in each episode (webisode?).

In order to promote the series, Luna will post 30-second previews of upcoming episodes (which air every two weeks) on “women’s fitness and humor sites” and sponsor a contest offering viewers a chance to win a year’s worth of free Luna bars. It gets better: According to brand director Rosa Compean, Luna decided to start hyping the series in January to counter all the misleading, quick-fix dietary ads that air during the crucial “New Year’s Resolution” season. Sounds like some great market research went into this project.

The most important thing to note about the series: The videos rarely, if ever, mention the Luna brand or its products. They don’t need to, because the content is original and, most importantly, valuable to its target audience.

We think this is a brilliant case study in branded content. What do you think?