Protein (R)evolution

Stay a step (or 3!) ahead of your competition.

In 2007, global sports beverage sales was $25 billion. That number is projected to increase to $87 billion in 2013.* Sports drink sales are booming… and protein powder supplements are a key reason why.

Protein supplementation has evolved to meet new demand. While dairy-based whey has historically dominated, the expanding protein market created a need for diverse protein formulas — including vegetarian protein supplements.

One SPIRU-TEIN marketing/writing campaign I worked on involved just such a vegetarian protein formula: The Tri-Part Protein Blend, derived from soy, rice, and peas.

The campaign strengthened the SPIRU-TEIN brand while elevating it above its many imitators. Since SPIRU-TEIN is over 25 years old… that’s a lot of knock-off soy/spirulina shakes. Category leaders like SPIRU-TEIN blaze new trails to maintain their competitive edge.

The Lesson: What’s different about your protein formula? Without that key differentiator, you risk losing your product in a saturated protein market.


*Global Sports Nutrition Market Topped $27.2B in 2007http://bccresearch.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/global-sports-nutrition-market-topped-272b-in-2007/, 2007.

Old(er) and in the Whey

Bicycle shorts while rollerblading: A crime against humanity

Below are links to three Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein Whey brochures that I wrote. Clearly this is for an older crowd than the Jersey Shore demographic we discussed in an earlier post. I mean, come on… look at this guy on the rollerblades. You think a Jersey Shore type would buy a protein powder supplement from that??

Don’t scoff, though. Read and consider how the brochures target a wealthier whey demographic: Buff Boomers.

SPIRU-TEIN whey protein shake brochure – original flavors.

SPIRU-TEIN whey protein shake brochure – new flavors.

SPIRU-TEIN whey brochure for low-carb diets.

The Lesson: Whey protein powder is an agile supplement that crosses demographic boundaries. Speak to your audience — sports nutrition success will follow.

Jersey Shore Nutrition

It's so you don't end up a (total) shipwreck.

Have you seen Jersey Shore ? The characters may be muscleheads… but you gotta admit, they’ve sure got muscles. One reason why: A Jersey Shore episode doesn’t come full circle until the housemates have their morning protein shakes.

The ubiquitous Jersey Shore trend’s focus on fitness has pumped up a lucrative sports nutrition demographic: young adults, aged 17-25. The stats don’t lie: A recent study suggests that 90%+ of college-aged men would like to be more muscular.* As a result, the demand for creatine and whey protein — considered to be foundation supplements for muscle mass — has spiked higher than a blowout hairstyle. Sports nutrition fortunes can be made on the Jersey Shore boardwalk alone. All you need is spray-on tan, a blender, your protein powder… and a-whey you go.

I’ve worked on multiple sports nutrition marketing campaigns, many of which targeted the surging 17-25 “Gym Rat” demographic. One ongoing project (pictured above) involves developing training tips to help store clerks maximize sports nutrition sales.

As great as the 17-25 group may be for sports nutrition sales, another demographic might possess even greater potential…


Frederick, David. “Desiring the Muscular Ideal: Men’s Body Satisfaction in the United States, Ukraine, and Ghana.” Psychology of Men and Maculinity, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2007): 103-117

Q.P. CORPORATION

Now that LOST is over, it looks like the Dharma Initiative is working in the natural products industry...

Before advertising any nutritional ingredient, consider your target market and their focus on cutting-edge quality. Oh, and taking note of the year, heck, even the decade, helps too.

This Q.P. Corporation brochure (offering nutritional supplement raw materials like lecithin, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin) was printed in 2010. But upon seeing it, my reaction was to call the 1970s and ask if they wanted their brochure back.

The American natural health industry sources raw materials from China and Japan. But clearly, these eastern suppliers often fall short on marketing. Q.P. (a Japanese company) cannot penetrate the American market using promotional materials that feel synthetic and outdated — especially in an industry that values natural origins and nutritional innovation.

The Lesson: Retro is fashion-cool, but it has no place in nutrition marketing… nor does the word “chemical.” Our industry seeks natural, safe, quality ingredients that help people. Q.P. ignores these factors and promotes a ’70s sci-fi nightmare of chemical toxic green. This is not how natural health looks!

Vitamin Code

Find it at your local Louvre.

So, we’ve established that generic is a term you would rather not have associated with your supplement marketing strategy. Generic isn’t sellable. Consumers don’t trust it.Generic is lazy.

Vitamin Code sits on the better end of that spectrum, with marketing  that is alluring and sellable. It taps into consumer emotions by invoking a sense of mystery. We’re curious creatures; we can’t help wondering what the CODE actually means. We observe the CODE’s pyramids, wondering if these supplements will reveal their secrets to us.

Of course, this sort of marketing isn’t always appropriate, especially in health sectors. You wouldn’t take a pill blindly just to reveal its mysteries (at least, I hope you wouldn’t!) – which is why Vitamin Code scores again. They market mystery until they capture consumer attention, and then they back it up with vital, accurate health information and strong research-backed substantiation.

The Power of Celebrity

Celebrity covers compel people to pick up magazines.

Jane Seymour was nice. She also knew her Natural Health and is an amazing painter. Jane will forever be my favorite Bond girl.

Ergo, as publisher of Rx Complement, Executive Editor of Energy Times, and Editor-in-Chief of HealthSmart Today, I’ve chased celebs, securing interviews with the following:

Ah, so many stories. Like when Alec Baldwin got angry at me in the middle of our interview. Or when Mariel Hemingway pantomimed negative thoughts attacking her in the Mandarin New York’s tea room. And the hilarious reason why Susan Lucci backed out of our interview at the last minute. (contact me for these stories)

I avoid that scene now. But I enjoyed every celebrity interview I ever did. I will be adding these interview articles to this site gradually. The articles did an amazing job of advancing the natural products industry through the power of celebrity.

Nutrient Depletion

Extensively substantiated, my Nutrient Replenishment Guide gives consumers healthy new reasons to buy supplements.

When I published Rx Complement magazine, I knew that drug-induced nutrient depletion was a topic I wanted to publicize immediately.

For the first issue, I wrote an article and created a pullout chart which shows which classes of drugs are associated with nutrient depletions. Of great assistance was Dr. Ross Pelton, a true leader in the nutrient depletion field. Download the chart below, print it and use it as you see fit.

Education is the key to supplement marketing. Consumers need to know all factors that will diminish their nutritional status: Stress, drugs, aging and a modern “factory farming” agriculture that yields nutritionally-deficient frankenfoods.

The Lesson: Third-party publications like my Rx Complement can be phenomenally effective sales-boosting educational tools. Consumers who read about nutrient depletion make smarter (and more numerous) supplement choices.

Selling Healthy Weight: CLA

There are facts. There are figures. Get confident about it.

Weight management is a tricky category when it comes to supplement marketing.

Outrageous claims have placed the entire category under a microscope. Consumers remain eager to buy supplements for healthy weight management (a.k.a. WEIGHT LOSS. There, I said it!).

CLA is a strong weight management play. To the right is a page from Healthy Sales, a newsletter I created to teach nutrition sales techniques to Vitamin World Associates. My approach is a clinic for marketing weight management supplements: Note the conservative language, authoritative facts and strong substantiation. These all empower VW Associates to communicate CLA’s benefits to customers in a clear, compliant manner.

The Lesson: With effective writing, you can successfully sell weight management supplements — while keeping your marketing materials clean and accurate.

Selling Resveratrol

I created marketing direction and wrote all copy for LifeTime Nutritional Specialties* Resveratrol Life Tonic.

The campaign succeeded; now Resveratrol Life Tonic is a featured flagship product for LifeTime. Visit their website and see. Click this link to see some of my copy.

I believe Resveratrol remains a sleeping giant. There’s no denying healthy aging, and resveratrol has considerable sex appeal in that sector. I’ll never forget around the same time I did this ad, I was involved in a conference call with a high-profile financeer who kept repeating “I’ll make you rich, Patrick. I’ll make you rich.” He was trying to get me to write for a resveratrol campaign that never materialized. He was onto something, though… he had the right marketing writer picked out, anyway.


* A quick side note on LifeTime, and blatant plug: LifeTime produces one of the most amazing supplements I’ve ever taken. It is called Calm & Calmer II. For me, it’s one of those rare products that you can feel working right away — and it’s true to its name!

Sexy Nutrition: Aphrodisiacs

Getting down? Feeling low? Read on before my puns take a bad turn...

I wrote this aphrodisiacs article: Nature’s Potions of Passion. This piece is a classic example of how the article format can educate consumers and compel them to buy nutritional supplements. Go ahead, read the article… if it doesn’t compel you to run out and buy the supplements mentioned, I’ll buy you a candy bar.

Nutrition for sexual health is another tricky marketing area these days. The FDA and FTC are scrutinizing this segment, thanks to contaminants — including pharmaceutical derivatives — found in fly-by-night products.

You can still achieve spectacular sales in the sexual health segment. Provide context, history, traditional perspectives — weave a sexy story. Over the top claims are unnecessary. There is already romance that goes hand in hand with aphrodisiac herbs… you can approach the topic obliquely, using innuendo and conservative suggestions. After all, sex appeal should leave something to the imagination anyway!