Battle of the bars: Kind takes on Clif again with energy bar launch

Campaign continues public spat between independently owned healthy snack bar brands.

The snack bar wars are still on -- and they’re more heated than ever.

Kind bar today introduced a new energy bar and another campaign that takes direct aim at competitor Clif Bar.

The campaign kicks off with a 30-second spot that shows a man on a hike looking concerned as he opens a Clif Bar and sees a puddle of brown rice sugar drip out. “When you’re putting adventure first, it doesn’t mean you have to put sugar first,” the narrator says.

The narrator then goes on to say Kind energy bars are made of whole-grain oats and contain 35% less sugar than the leading Clif Bar.

The energy bar marks Kind’s entry into a $5 billion category that’s projected to grow double digits this year. Its campaign is based on the insight that two out of three people eat energy bars while sitting at home or at their desks, rather than prior to physical activity.

“We were surprised to learn people are not eating the bars before physical activity, even though they are typically larger and higher in calories and carbohydrates,” said Jenna Thornton, director of integrated communications at Kind, via email. “Our goal is to educate people so they can make the best food choices.”

To get consumers engaged, Kind is rewarding people who eat energy bars properly with a cash prize as part of its Kind Energy Pledge. The first 1,000 people who share a picture on social media of themselves eating an energy bar prior to working out, along with a receipt of purchase, will receive a $100 check to put toward fitness-related expenses.

The effort is supported by an influencer campaign on TikTok that uses reverse videos to show people working out prior to eating the bar.

Kind will pay up for people who eat any brand of energy bar correctly -- even Clif Bars.

“The misuse [of energy bars] is within the category as a whole, which is why we expanded the pledge to include all energy bars,” Thornton said.

The campaign marks the next step in an ongoing spat between Kind and Clif Bar, the two leading independent, mission-driven companies in the healthy snack bar category.

Last March, Clif Bar co-CEOs Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford penned an open letter urging Kind, Larabar and RxBar to use organic ingredients that ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times digital and print editions.

In June, Kind hit back with an ad calling out Clif bars for being high in brown rice sugar, which used the same imagery of brown rice syrup dripping out of Clif bar packages.

“People appreciate information,” Thornton said. “The most important thing we can do is provide people with straightforward information as they choose their snacks.”

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