By Barry Janoff
January 5, 2015: NFL quarterback Cam Newton might be part of the Super Bowl XLIX conversation even if his Carolina Panthers don't make it to the University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1.
Newton has been unveiled as the spokesman for Dannon's Oikos yogurt, a role that has for the past few years been filled by actor John Stamos. That has included ads during Super Bowl Sunday, which last year saw Stamos reunited with his buddies from the 1990s TV show, Full House.
Dannon's first Big Game spot for Oikos ran in 2012 during Super Bowl XLVI, but the brand skipped the Super Bowl the following year and plans to do so again this year.
Dannon, whose Oikos is the official yogurt of the NFL, said that Newton would be featured in a multimillion-dollar multi-media campaign to support the launch of Oikos Triple Zero, which contains 15 grams of protein, zero added sugar, zero artificial sweeteners and zero fat, according to the company.
Dannon said its strategy is to "engage with a wider audience (and) bring consumers a new protein snack in an unexpected location — the yogurt aisle." The brand plans to move beyond its "once predominantly female consumer" via media buys on shows with "a high male viewership," including plans to be presenting sponsor of various NFL Network shows and a full NFL.com takeover.
Dannon said it plans to run ads during NFL playoff games and the Pro Bowl as well as programming the week before the Super Bowl but not during the Super Bowl itself, according to Michael Neuwirth, senior director of public relations. That still leaves open a media buy during programming the day of and surrounding the game, according to industry analysts, as well as activation on-site in Phoenix.
“There aren’t many great choices for protein snacks that also have other important nutrients,” Art D’Elia, vp-marketing for Dannon, said in a statement. “As America’s largest yogurt maker, we have a commitment and an opportunity to help Americans live healthier lives through the food choices they make. Oikos Triple Zero does exactly that.”
The intro spot with Newton shows him entering a supermarket followed by a group of cheerleaders and heading to the yogurt aisle, explaining to customers that Oikos Triple Zero is his "go-to protein snack."
It is scheduled to break on Jan. 12. (See the full spot here.)
NBC, which will air Super Bowl XLIX, is charging upward of $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.
Newton also has endorsement deals that include Under Armour, Gatorade, GMC, Beats by Dre, Drakkar and department store chain Belk. He also oversees the Cam Newton Foundation, which offers support and educational resources to underserved communities. He earns about $10 million from his deals, according to industry analysts.
According to Newton, “As an athlete, I pay close attention to what I eat — whether it’s between meals or after working out. It’s funny because I really do find myself searching the grocery store for new protein snack options. Oikos Triple Zero was quite honestly right up my alley — not only because of its nutritional benefits, but because it tastes good too.”