After setting up a three-story high mound of sugar at Times Square to tout its "healthier" fruit bites last fall, Kind Snacks is back with yet another marketing stunt.
The healthy snack-maker is marking its entry into the protein bar space by taking direct potshots at competitors including Clif, Quest, ThinkThin and Power Crunch. It is shipping its competitors' products alongside its own to 10,000 consumers who sign up first, for them to the two try side-by-side.
Kind claims that nuts are the primary protein in its bars and so they automatically taste better than others in the market, which are heavy on synthetic protein blends, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols.
"Since we're entering a new category, we need to convince people to switch in a compelling way," said Drew Nannis, Kind's VP of integrated communications. "Taste is very subjective, so we wanted to put our best foot forward by making people actually sample our product."
Protein bars are a clear expansion opportunity for the brand, which ventured outside of snack bars and granola for the first time last year to launch fruit bites for kids. Kind likes to think of itself as a "challenger brand" taking on established competitors, so these marketing stunts work well for it. Its sugar stunt, for example, increased traffic to its website by 61% during the week of launch, said Nannis.
The protein bar category is now the fastest-growing within the energy and nutrition bar category as a whole, with a 54% increase in the number of new products claiming to be high in protein since 2008, according to a study by Mintel. And the hype is unlikely to end anytime soon. 71% of people say that they want more protein in their diets, according to a survey by the NPD Group.
It also allows the brand to remain true to its mission of creating products made with minimally processed, real ingredients while expanding into newer categories.
"For us, it's always been about disrupting stale categories or creating new categories," said Nannis. "Our approach has always been to always elevate the categories we enter and challenge the false compromises in those categories."
Kind is also promoting its new protein bars through a digital video starring Anna Faris in partnership with Funny or Die, which once again calls out leading protein bar brands for their taste — or rather lack thereof.