Bananas are for Monkeys

By Per Jaldeborg
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Stockholm
Client: Gainomax Recovery Drink
Category: 2006

Bananas Are For Monkeys This is not a paper about monkeys. This is a paper about an innovation from Lapland This is a paper about the Jane Fondas of the 21st century. This is a paper about putting these things together for an absolute success.

This is the strategic thinking behind the campaign that challenged the Swedish health icon—the banana. Why? Because we had to. We had to make people understand that having the best equipment and eating bananas is not enough for achieving the best results. We had to replace the banana in the gym bag with Gainomax Recovery.

The Background Gainomax Recovery is a milk based recovery drink with a perfect mix of proteins and carbohydrates added. Gainomax is produced by Norrmejerier, Sweden. (Northern Dairies, Sweden). The drink was introduced in 1990, targeting hard-core trainers since the drink gives all the nutrition needed to recover after workout. The brand is well established among elite trainers, loved by many, unknown to others. The sales growth was good already from the start but great since it was introduced in national retailer chains 5 years ago. But, the last years, sales have hit the ceiling. Something needed to be done. Gainomax recovery had to broaden its target group to increase sales and become the #1 sports nutrition brand in Sweden.

This is What We Had to Find Out What is the market potential for this product? How does the competitive set look and act? Can people find the product? What do people have in their gym bag? How great is Gainomax Recovery?

Raising the Bar The business objective was to increase sales from 4,5 million cans to 5 million. It sounded like a big challenge to me. But, looking into the Swedish Sports Association’s Statistics, we found some interesting facts. 65% of the Swedish population does some kind of exercise 2 times a week. This is a group of people that does any kind of workout. But looking further into the statistics we saw that 11% works out 3 times a week or more.

This 11% percent of the Swedish population corresponds to 1 million people. If we look into how many training occasions that equals during a year we get: 1.000.000 people x 3 (work-out sessions a week) x 52 (weeks) = 156.000.000 Gainomax Recovery moments. This created a huge opportunity. We couldn’t stop at a goal of increasing the volumes from 4,5 to 5 million cans (+11%). Instead, we did a humble assumption. If we can reach only 5% of these 156 million occasions, we can actually reach a volume of 7,8 million cans, a sales increase of 73% instead of the modest 11%. We convinced the client to raise the bar. OUR FELLOW SPORT NUTRITION BRANDS Red Bull, Powerade, Pripps Energy, Proviva Active and all power bars are the closest competitors. They all look the same. They all talk the same. They all communicate the same way. Since they don’t have the budgets of Adidas or Nike, but still want to establish them selves as sports brands, they too often take the easy way and use endorsement advertising in their communication. Already here we’ve got an opportunity to stand out from the pack.

Hard to Get I went researching in fitness centers, in training facilities and in grocery stores. In most gyms and training facilities, we couldn’t find the product. When we looked in store, it was a mess. Gainomax Recovery could be found in the dairy department as well as in the energy drink department and even among drink-mixers. We interviewed store managers to get their opinion. There was a big confusion where this product really belonged since it was a milk-based energy drink. The shopper interviews pointed out that this category is one of the least developed. It’s hard to navigate the category, it’s hard to find the products, and no one really gives relevant information of the differences between products. We saw the first barrier. Gainomax Recovery is hard to get.

The Semi-Professionals I talked to nutrition evangelists. These people know exactly how much nutrition they need. Their workout session is not over until they have refueled the body with proteins and carbs. They use Gainomax Recovery frequently and like it because of the taste and nutrition. These people are already hooked.

The Jane Fondas of the 21st Century These are the less hard-core, the people doing exercise around 3 times a week. I went to other types of fitness centers and training facilities to find out. They do exercise to stay fit and feel good. For a lot of them, they are motivated by a certain goal like running a marathon, do The Swedish Classic Competition (cross-country skiing, long-distance cycling, swimming, running). Every workout session is a personal achievement. Since the training is such an important part of their daily life, the right equipment and gear is crucial. They would do anything for better performance and getting the most out of every single workout session.

When it comes to sports nutrition they use it occasionally, when they need what they call ‘that extra power’. They don’t know much about it and since they all look so professional, they have the perception that it’s not really for them. They try to stick to a healthy diet and when preparing for a special event or competition, they eat as much pasta as possible. They believe that the only way to affect the training in a positive direction is either before or during the workout. After that you can’t do anything. So, do they have anything in their gym bag to eat after training? Some of them have a piece of chocolate. Others have an apple. But the vast majority have bananas. A banana is healthy and gives the feeling of saturation. Last but not least. It’s a natural product in line with their healthy approach to life. I did an online survey as well. The big finding was confirmed. Joggers have bananas in their sports bags.

The Convention Thinking about it a little deeper, it really made sense. All Swedes are brought up eating bananas, especially in association to workout. And according to the Swedish Banana Company, Swedes are the biggest banana consumers in the world (except banana producing countries), 20 kg per person and year. The banana is a health symbol, an untouchable icon.

The Innovation From Lapland A Gainomax Recovery contains 40 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of proteins. It’s the highest level among the competitive set except nutrition powder you mix yourself. But how much does a banana contain? I contacted the leading sports institute in Sweden but couldn’t get the answer. After researching a little more I finally got in contact with the leading sports nutritionist in Sweden, Marie Broholmer. She gave me a very straight answer. A banana contains 23 grams of carbohydrates and only one gram of proteins. I asked: –‘Can we say a Gainomax Recovery is twice as good as a banana?’ -‘Definitely, it’s even better than that when it comes to recovery’. This was the best finding I could get. I had unlocked a door that can take this product to a level far beyond the perceived competitors.

The Strategy This is what we had: • A huge opportunity – 156.000.000 post workout occasions.
• Market knowledge: all perceived competitors are trying hard to be sports brands. • A disruption opportunity: Bananas are not unbeatable. At least not after training.

In other words, we had the foundation for a challenger strategy. Gainomax should leave the small competitors behind and go for the big banana. This is a tough battle. Especially since the banana is loved by almost everybody. The challenge for communication: Replace the banana in the sports bag.

The monkeys The creatives ware briefed with the challenge to replace the banana in the sports bag. The creative work had break out from the category and rather fight the big brands than the small. The campaign should cover; Sales-force presentations, POS materials, events, gym advertising, TV, print and outdoor.

The concept the creatives presented; Bananas are for Monkeys. Right on strategy, very unconventional and with a sense of humor to eliminate the risk of alienating banana lovers and existing Gainomax users. See attached executions.

The results We raised the goal to increase sales from 11% to 73% the first year. We reached 75% the first 6 months. Penetration went from 18% to 28% (goal 22%). Unaided awareness went from 13% to 20% (goal 15%). The 7,8 million was within reach. Gainomax Recovery had started grasping a bigger chunk out of the 156 million occasions.

*The research was conducted in the Stockholm area. A total number of 70 people were interviewed in gyms and grocery stores. Another 50 people participated in an online survey.