To boost awareness and purchases, the protein products brand Muscle Milk ran video ads in several placements across Instagram and Facebook, and saw a 7.5-point lift in unaided ad recall.

Premium protein products

Muscle Milk manufactures a portfolio of protein products―including powders, ready-to-drink shakes and bars―to serve the needs of professional and amateur athletes, and people with active lifestyles. Muscle Milk is a trusted partner of collegiate athletic programs and training facilities, and is a subsidiary of PepsiCo.


increase in market penetration


lift in unaided ad recall

16.9 million

people reached

People recognize and trust the Muscle Milk name, but we want to ensure they know we’re offering some of the best-tasting, high-quality protein out there, and with zero sugar. This campaign’s ad creative embodied the on- and off-the-field strength we preach and proved the perfect fit to tell that story, get people excited and show what a Muscle Milk athlete can do.
Reaching “forever athletes”

Muscle Milk wanted to reach more “forever athletes”―people who are continually on-the-go and highly focused on physical fitness and nutrition―and boost brand awareness and sales.

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A thoughtfully designed campaign

For this campaign, Muscle Milk partnered with its media agency, OMD, for planning and executing the strategy, and with its creative agencies, adam&eve DDB and Swift, to build the video ad creative.

To better promote the brand, Muscle Milk ran video ads in multiple placements. These included Facebook and Instagram feed, in-stream and Stories to ensure greater reach, efficiency and scale.

The team followed Instagram’s video best practices, such as showing strong branding elements within the first three seconds and ensuring a run-time of less than 15 seconds. And, to bring the campaign to life, the team used vivid storytelling elements, bold visuals and a cohesive message.

While the campaign planning initially occurred prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign launched shortly after it began, which made its theme of encouraging people to #OwnYourStrength and to empower and invest in themselves even more relevant and important.

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Muscle Milk designed creative to resonate with those on the go by depicting people who are determined and motivated to work out at home, in an empty gym, on a sports field and in their own neighborhoods. Bold text overlays emphasized the product attributes for Muscle Milk Genuine and Pro Series ready-to-drink protein shakes. Each ad included a “Shop Now” button that linked to the respective product pages on the brand’s website.

The team targeted the ads to US adults aged 18 and over, and to a Custom Audience of people interested in purchasing Ready to Drink protein shakes, as identified by PepsiCo's proprietary data. It also used campaign budget optimization to automatically distribute the budget across the best-performing ad sets in real time.

Muscle Milk determined the results of the April 29‒June 20, 2020 campaign using a Facebook brand lift study and reporting data in Facebook Ads Manager as well as data from third-party partner NCS, which together revealed:

  • 4.8% increase in market penetration

  • 7.5-point lift in unaided ad recall

  • 16.9 million people reached