The advertisements, which began airing this weekend, aim to demonstrate that protein is found in 'unexpected places', such as 8th Continent soymilk, V8 Splash Smoothies, Snapple-A-Day beverages and Gardenburger meatless foods.
A new study from the Valen Group claims that 28.3 per cent of US adults or about 59 million people are currently controlling their carbohydrate intake. This suggests that many of these consumers are also replacing their carbohydrates with protein.
And the figures have not gone unnoticed by major food manufacturers, such as Unilever, Frito-Lay and Kraft, who have all developed low-carb ranges in recent months.
"We think when consumers find out that they don't have to eat a slab of pork or a chunk of lamb to get protein, it will be memorable," said Todd Sutton, global marketing director for the firm.
The commercials focus on a 'Protein Quiz' that asks the average American 'Which contains protein?'. Having to choose between a piece of meat and a product containing Solae soy protein, the 'contestant' instinctively chooses the meat. However, the correct answer is both.
Created by Ogilvy & Mather in New York, the four, 15-second commercials will air on cable networks including Oxygen, VH1, The Learning Channel and Bravo. It is the first television advertising done by the company but undoubtedly draws on some of the highly successful branding campaigns for other products made by majority owner Du Pont.
Solae was formed last year through an alliance between soy processor Bunge and DuPont's food ingredients business, merging manufacturing operations in four major regions and six technical centers around the world. The business, initially focusing on soy protein and lecithin, is aiming to achieve annual revenues in the region of $800 million.
Industry commentators have speculated that 2004 could be the year for soy, after substantial investment in taste, R&D and marketing has resolved most consumer issues with the ingredient.
"Consumers are eating better and leading healthier lifestyles, and Solae as a product is right for the time," claims John McNeil, creative director at Ogilvy & Mather.
While little growth is expected in the well-established soybean fats and oils market, other soy-derived food ingredients are set to rise by 6.3 per cent on a yearly basis, according to a Freedonia report, stimulated by consumer preferences for natural ingredients, interest in high protein diets and weight management concerns.