Iogo emerges from cross-border marketing shuffle

September 14, 2012  |  Rebecca Harris  |  Comments

Ultima spends big bucks on product launch

Ultima Foods has stirred up the yogurt category with the $70 million launch of Iögo.

Pronounced “yo-go,” the new yogurt brand has more than 40 products across seven product lines: Iögo (the branding for which uses a lower-case “i” in the name), 0%, Probio (probiotics), Greko (Greek), Nomad (drinkable), Zip (in tubes) and Nano (yogurt in mini-bottles for kids). Each product– with such flavours as Lychee-Raspberry and Pineapple-Coconut –is free of gelatin and artificial colours and flavours.

The company spent $60 million on research and development and $10 million to increase production capacity at its Granby, Que. plant.

“The brand is really different because we’re 100% Canadian,” said Lucie Rémillard, vice-president of marketing at Longueil, Que.-based Ultima Foods, which is owned by the Agropur and Agrifoods dairy cooperatives. “The expertise and know-how of our team is tremendous because we have been producing and marketing yogurt for the past 40 years.”

Ultima is best known for its Yoplait brand, which it produced under a long-term license agreement with SAS/General Mills. During discussions to renew the contract, Ultima Foods decided it would launch its own brand, as General Mills wanted direct control over Yoplait marketing in Canada and the U.S.

In May, the companies signed a new six-year agreement under which Ultima Foods will continue to make Yoplait products, while General Mills will market, sell and distribute Yoplait products under license from Yoplait SAS. 

Ultima developed the Iögo brand in just 18 months. “From the beginning of those discussions with the franchisor, we didn’t know which kind of agreement would be decided,” said Rémillard. “Our board of directors and our president wanted to be sure that we would be ready to launch a new brand in the market at a certain date.”

As part of its research, the company talked to a group of 4,000 Canadians at multiple points in the product’s development, from the name to the packaging to the advertising. About 30 names were tested with the group, who ultimately thought Iögo was “fresh, creative and unique,” said Rémillard. “Also, for us, the name phonetically is close to yogurt and obviously had to be copyrightable.”

The packaging is black and white with large images of colourful fruit. The product lines for adults feature a distinct colour strip, while the ones for kids feature fruit characters and cartoon images.

Ultima Foods is supporting the launch of Iögo with a national advertising campaign created by its long-time advertising partner DentusBos (formerly Bos). With the tagline, “Iögo, the new way to say yogurt,” the campaign includes television spots, outdoor and transit ads, as well as a major sampling and couponing element.

In late August, a five-second teaser spot and national billboard teaser featured just the name of the brand and various characters like a cow or a child. Following that, a 60-second spot told the story behind the brand, playing up the company’s Canadian heritage and the know-how of its employees while introducing the myriad products.

The campaign also includes social media, station domination in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, PR activations and flash mobs that took place in Toronto and Montreal. Ultima Foods is also set to launch 30-second spots that introduce the key selling points of each product line and new billboards.

Ultima Foods worked with a number of agencies including Ad hoc Research and Bo Branding & Design (packaging design), Casacom (public relations), Cohésion Stratégies (branding), Denise Hobbs Marketing (in-store tasting, couponing), Ideograma (logo), Ressac (social media) and Uranium Interactive (website).

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