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Behind the Chobani Campaign Bringing Oat Milk to Everyone


LBB’s Ben Conway discusses the comically absurd, milky montage with The Martin Agency’s creative directors Allison Rude and Lindsey King and The Roots Production Service

Behind the Chobani Campaign Bringing Oat Milk to Everyone

Directed by Caviar’s Jonathan Krisel - known for co-creating the series ‘Portlandia’ and his work with comedy duo Tim and Eric - Chobani’s latest campaign seeks to spread the word that its oat milk is available to the whole world. Often a milk alternative that, according to The Martin Agency’s Allison Rude, is considered “exclusive and for the few”, the oat milk in the ‘Everyone has oatmilk’ spot becomes an omnipresent feature of all aspects of pop culture - appearing on red carpets, in videogames and QVC-style shopping channels.

To shoot the spot, the creative agency partnered with The Roots Production Service, who facilitated the ad’s production in Chile, using international talent as well as a local Chilean crew. The Roots’ art and wardrobe departments rose to the challenge of replicating a variety of different set styles in multiple locations for the montage, whilst ensuring the production followed local covid-19 protocol.

Discussing how the campaign came about, the process of remote shooting in Chile and writing hundreds of vignettes, LBB’s Ben Conway speaks with Allison Rude and Lindsey King, creative directors at The Martin Agency, and the team at The Roots Production Service.

LBB> Where did the initial creative spark for this campaign come from?

Allison> The idea was based on a deadpan line that Ashley Marshall [Martin Agency ECD] had written from the very beginning as one of our strategic directions. That line was: ‘We have oat milk.’ - the insight being that all those other frou-frou oat milk brands keep their oat milk exclusive and for the few. To the point where there was even a giant shortage of one of them in the news recently. But not Chobani. Chobani is in supermarkets everywhere. And if Chobani has oat milk, that means everyone has oat milk because it’s always been a people’s brand. The creative team really just leaned right into the simplicity of that line and the spot followed.

LBB> Did the client approach you with a brief for this campaign - what was your reaction to the brief and what ideas immediately came to mind?

Allison> They approached us in June 2021 and we were immediately salivating at the simplicity of the brief: ‘Tell the world that Chobani has oat milk.’ That kind of declaration just begs for something that feels big and epic, so a lot of our thinking fell into that camp.

LBB> How long did it take to conceive and develop the ‘Oat Milk Is Everywhere’ idea? Why did you decide a montage style would be best?

Allison> We had a few rounds with the client and they expressed their desire to just confidently own the fact they have oat milk now. So we went back to the brief and just leaned into the simplicity of that original ‘we have oat milk’ line and the team came back with this super fun spot that embraced how deadpan it was, while also making it feel like really big news… that maybe you’d missed because you were busy paying attention to other things. We decided on montage because that was the best way to get a true cross-section of culture and all the places Chobani could have appeared in this hyperbolic scenario of it being everywhere. We didn't want people to have to think super hard about any math we were doing. Chobani is everywhere so we showed it everywhere!

LBB> How many different scenarios did you write and create for the montage - were there some that didn’t make the final cut? And which is your favourite scene?

Allison> We wrote hundreds and hundreds of scenarios. It was really hard to stop actually. And we were writing them right up until a few weeks before the shoot. Some setups obviously determined where we shot location-wise, but then others (like the nail scene) were later add-ons because they could be filmed anywhere and we could fit those little vignettes into any location for production efficiency. We ultimately narrowed down the vignettes based on a couple of parameters we set in place. But we had a lot of heart for some ‘90s throwbacks that were exchanged for things that felt a bit more modern. I think we all have our different favourites from the montage. An agency favourite is one of the QVC:06s where they’re talking about how it’s so rich and creamy that ‘husbands will like it!’ And then the other host interjects with a helpful PSA: ‘Not everyone has a husband.’ It just felt so random and unexpected that it had us laughing out loud each time we saw it in an edit.

LBB> There is such a variety of different scenes, sets and styles for the montage - how did you incorporate so many so seamlessly, and who did you work with to create all these different set designs and the VFX etc?

Linsey> [Director] Jonathan Krisel has a ton of experience working on sketch comedy (Portlandia and SNL) so he knew how to bring these different styles to life in a way that felt comedic yet attempted to authentically mimic their style. Jo Willems was of course instrumental as DP. Instead of filters in post etc, we actually filmed and mic’d the talent using cameras and sound true to the different genres. So the influencer with the nails was shot on a phone, the QVC set was shot using a set cam and so on. And then our post partners (Platige, Rob Ryang at Cut and Run, and We are Walker) played a huge role in helping us dissect what made the vignettes true to spoof as well. Whether it was how the sound was mixed to the style of the editing, etc.

LBB> Why did you decide to shoot in Chile and how was that experience? What did The Roots production service and the Chile shooting location enable you to do that you couldn’t have done in the US or elsewhere?

Allison> We shot in Chile for a variety of reasons. Production efficiencies probably being the biggest of them. But it also ended up being one of the few locations that we could travel talent in and out of without excessive quarantines and so on, due to covid. And we lucked out because the crew in Chile was phenomenal. The craft they put into all of our setups was really amazing to watch. Whether it was the costume design to the simple bedazzling of a milk carton the night before the shoot because of a crazy idea we had at the pre-pro.

The Roots> In terms of logistics and locations we would say Chile was the best location for this project. Twelve members of the cast came from Canada and Argentina – the rest were found here, locally in Chile. For the production, director Jonathan, DP Jo Willems and producer Brian Cooper joined us in Santiago, but the rest were local crew.

LBB> From The Roots’ perspective, what ideas or production requirements immediately came to mind when you started on this project? 

The Roots> We have a long-term relationship with Caviar and executive producer Tova Dann but this was our first time working with the Martin Agency or Chobani. We love receiving projects that contain a logistical production challenge, so when we saw that this project required a variety of locations, sets, and international talent, we were excited by the opportunity (and wonderful challenge) it presented our art and wardrobe departments. This script required multiple locations, so it was essential for our research team to find the best location options to complete the project. Another priority was the vaccination validation procedure. We needed to ensure that the international cast and members of the production team were granted expedited entry into Chile while covid-19 protocols and restrictions were in place.

Our production team and research team always work closely to find and present the best locations and a realistic production plan for each script. We find that maintaining close collaboration between these two teams is essential to our entire process, from pre-production through to wrap.

LBB> How was the production process? Were you on-set for the shoots at all? 

Lindsey> We had a fully remote shoot - clients, agency etc. Jonathan was thankfully able to be on set but we were fully tuned in with a live feed and were in constant contact through text and Zoom. Of course, we missed out on the ability to bond and have that in-person connection with Jonathan, but we made the best of it. And on the Martin side of things, we’d all been in at least six remote productions at that point so it was all second nature by then.

LBB> What was the hardest challenge you faced on this project and how did you overcome it?

Allison> The hardest part of this project was just having eyes that were bigger than our wallets. We wanted the world when it came to vignettes. Celebrities, explosions, obscure references from film or history. I don’t know if we’re allowed to say this but let's just say SpongeBob was a pipe dream of ours for maybe a little too long before we realised it was way out of budget. So we were constantly having to problem-solve around that kind of stuff. It meant coming up with cheap ways of making things feel expensive or familiar even though they were completely fabricated and at a fraction of the cost of actual licensed footage.

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The Roots Production Service, Fri, 22 Apr 2022 14:10:00 GMT