Chobani and The Winter Olympics

As most of us who have watched the Winter Olympics already know, Chobani has invested a lot of time and money to advertise during the Winter Games.  They are an Official Sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team and feature U.S. Men’s Hockey Captain Zach Parise in one of their commercials airing during the Games.  However, the most publicity they received came from an incident that didn’t cost them a thing.

A few days before the Olympics, Chobani planed to send their yogurt products to Sochi for all of the men and women of the U.S. Olympic Team as well as for all the people at NBC working to televise the Winter Games.  But, Chobani’s yogurt shipment was held up at Newark Liberty International Airport because the Russians said the yogurt did not meet their customs certifications.  This drew attention from Americans around the country, including members of Congress, who tried to work with the Russians to get the yogurt to Sochi.  Ultimately, the attempt failed and Chobani’s large shipment of yogurt did not make it to the Olympic Games.  Chobani decided in the following days to donate their yogurt products to local food banks in the New York and New Jersey area instead.


I think that this negative incident got turned into a huge positive for Chobani.  The incident brought major attention to Chobani’s yogurt products on multiple national television outlets and on the internet.  Chobani also comes out of this situation looking extremely patriotic.  Not only are they sponsors of the U.S. Olympic Team, but the appear sympathetic as they tried to support their fellow countrymen but were stopped by the Russians.  The news of Chobani donating their banned shipment to local food banks also makes the company look caring and charitable.  All of this publicity free of charge.

In my opinion, having Russia deny their shipment was the best thing that could have happened to Chobani.  Chobani’s image is more aligned and strengthened with the U.S. Olympic Team and the company comes out looking charitable and patriotic when it is all said and done.  And none of this cost Chobani a dime.  So far, I think Chobani has been the biggest winner between advertisers in the Olympic Games.

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