Silk Ultra Brings Out the Beast in Michael Phelps and Aly Raisman

You don't need meat to build muscle

Clearly, Michael Phelps and Aly Raisman are beasts when it comes to swimming and gymnastics.

Now, these Olympic legends run with powerful animals—gorillas, elephants, rhinos and stallions—in Lightning Orchard's latest spots touting Silk Ultra plant-based protein beverages.

Phelps leaves the pool but still winds up soaked, with sweat, in a grueling desert run:

Silk ULTRA: Beasts

And here, Raisman teaches a weighted ball who's boss:

Silk ULTRA: Power

"We were inspired by the simple fact that some of the world's strongest animals are actually herbivores, powered by a plant-based diet," says Andrew Hartshorn, senior vice president at Silk parent Danone. "We're trying to convey that you don't need a giant steak or a tall glass of milk to build muscle or tap into your inner beast, because Silk Ultra delivers 20 grams of complete plant-based protein per serving."

To our ears, the voiceovers from Damien B. Davis channel a Ving Rhames Arby's vibe. But Silk does NOT have the meats—no way!

The approach feels a tad campy, perhaps unintentionally so. Still, the message comes through loud and clear—like a beastly roar.  

"You may be picking up on some old-school nature-documentary vibes," Hartshorn says of the campaign's style. "We wanted to keep it simple, entertaining and differentiated from some of the other protein beverages out there."

Silk also provides added value with a contest offering home exercise equipment during these Covid times.

Prize packs include free weights, foam rollers, 20-pound kettlebells, resistance bands, on-the-go blenders—and a year's worth of Silk Ultra. You're asked to sweat for such swag by completing one of the 10-minute sessions below. Phelps hosts one, and Aly the other:

After perspiring for 600 seconds—honor system, people!—you can snap a selfie and tell Silk how plant-based options help drive your workout.

Through the sweepstakes, the brand hopes to "inspire and equip athletes with the tools and protein they need to keep crushing their fitness goals" and drive user engagement, Hartshorn says.

During the pandemic's first wave last May, Silk and Lightning Orchard teamed up for this whimsical remote-control delivery.


Danone North America
Carlos Veraza, President, Danone North America
Andrew Hartshorn, SVP, Plant-Based Food & Beverages
Dan Hamilton, VP, Brand Elevation
Derek Neeley, Senior Marketing Director, Silk
David Robinson Senior Brand Manager, Silk
Travis Hayes, Brand Manager, Silk
Allison Ingalls, Senior Manager, Brand Elevation
Jordan Hunt, Marketing Manager, Brand Elevation
Alexis Harris, Associate Brand Manager, Silk

Lightning Orchard
Jeff Kling Founder, Chief Creative Officer
Barney Robinson Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Laura Janness Founder, Chief Strategy Officer
Jimm Lasser, Executive Creative Director
Grady Linnihan, Writer
Perry Morton, Art Director
Sherri Levy, Head of Production
Theresa Reyes, Senior Producer
Lucie Kittel, Account Director

Sanctuary Content
Elle Ginter, Director
Preston Lee, Executive Producer/Owner
Kirsten Bedard-Johnson, Executive Producer
Adam Litt, Head of Production
Claire McGirr, Line Producer

ICF Next
Maria Opatz, Account Supervisor

VFX: Artjail
ECD: Steve Mottershead
Editor: Neil Gust
Editor: Matt Jacob
EP: John Skeffington
Sr Producer: Perry Tate
Flame Lead: Christoph Schroer
2D Compositors: Dayung Jo, Jeremy Lloyd-Styles, Eric Conception, Kyle Andal
3D: Juan Barquet
2D Design/Animation: Jaime Flores
Colorist: Clinton Homuth

Heard City
Sound Engineer: Keith Reynaud
Sound Engineer: Jeremy Siegel
Executive Producer: Jackie James
Producer: Andi Lewis

New Math
Composer: Raymond Lowey
Producer: B Muñoz
Executive Producer: Kala Sherman

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