A few years ago, a company (which shall remain nameless) hired me to create new product marketing direction for a whole-food multivitamin supplement. I did market research, evaluated the competition, brainstormed product names, taglines and angles. I picked the strongest and created a brochure and box copy that told a story about the supplement. I billed for ten hours. The client nixed my copy.
Recalling the project, I decided to look it up today and see what kind of copy they ended up using. Here it is — in its entirety — believe it or not:
“This product features a wide array of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutrients – including vegetable, fruit and mushroom complexes – to give you the well-rounded nutrition you crave.“
Good god, where to start? The writing is bad, nobody “craves” nutrition, and there is no effort to brand or differentiate this product from the scores of similar competitors. If you want to sell your nutritional supplement, you need to do better.
The Lesson: Make sure your company has a real marketing person in place. With the right marketing direction, storytelling and design work, you can offer your nutritional supplement at a premium price… that consumers will be happy to pay. Make it sexy. Our industry is far too dynamic to settle for generic marketing.
I created this conceptual ad to convey how pushing forward with exercise helps one leave negative emotions behind. The tagline: “Energy For What Will Be.” We presented this concept to an Ad Group that was set in their ways. The concept was met with negative feedback and rejected.
Four years later, I saw the Asics ad on the right in Men’s Health Magazine… and felt sweet vindication. Although a small ad group rejected our concept, Asics had enough belief in a similar concept to invest $186,000 for an ad in the World’s Greatest Magazine.
The Lesson: Don’t stop believin’ in your vision. Think big. The concept that is too “different” for one client is the same concept that will be embraced by a winner.
I created this ad early in my career as a nutritional supplement marketing writer. The challenge: taking a rather plain protein shake and differentiating it. Designer Chad Renfroe and I came up with this ad, and while it was never used, I was always proud of the marketing instinct behind it. It romanticizes an ordinary supplement with language that resonates with women. You are Woman. I hear you roar.
Nutritional supplement marketing is a moving target. On one side, the ever-shifting language regulations of the FTC and FDA. On the other, the critical need to educate consumers with engaging, accurate content. It’s a treacherous tightrope walk.
Maybe that’s why so many fall.
This blog follows marketing failures of hapless grammar, eyebrow-raising claims, and flabbergasting direction. Our industry is nothing if not positive, however, so equal attention will be paid to those nutrition writers who have found the balance that works.
Along the way, learn the success secrets of one of the natural product industry’s most accomplished writers. That’s me, the Natural Health Writer.
Why would I share? Because god dammit, I love this industry and all that it stands for. In the nutritional supplement industry, fortunes are waiting to be made — but more importantly, wellness is waiting to be won. Communication is the catalyst that either realizes these missions or dooms them to failure. Let’s do it right.