GNC Plans a Fourth-Quarter Comeback This Year With Its Super Bowl Ad Debut

Health chain is rebranding in the Big Game

Among the many familiar faces, including Skittles and GoDaddy, one new brand will be making its Super Bowl debut this year: GNC, long known as the place one goes to buy vitamins in bulk.

The retail chain’s bid is part of an elaborate rebranding strategy after a year that saw its stock price fall by more than 50 percent. Bullish, a creative “accelerator agency” launched in January by veterans of Deutsch and Johannes Leonardo, is serving as creative advisor on the campaign and also working on GoDaddy’s Super Bowl LI entry.

The spot will air during the game’s first quarter, and it represents a national buy with buybacks up to two months after the Big Game. Its purpose is to let consumers know that GNC is making some changes.

On Thursday, GNC announced plans to close all stores on Dec. 28 and reopen the following day as One New GNC, offering universal prices to replace a setup that had allowed for multiple pricing structures across channels and membership levels. The chain will also introduce a new loyalty program, mobile app and point of sale terminals to streamline the purchase process across locations.

“For the last two years, we have spent time, through research, listening to thousands of customers who told us that our business model could use some improvement and the One New GNC is the result,” said a company spokesperson. “Customers wanted a simplified pricing structure and a better loyalty program.”

The company cannot yet divulge any details about the ad but did say that “a number of creative teams” are currently vying to work on the project. In addition to Bullish, GNC’s roster includes Edelman on public relations, Crossmedia on media buys and Superfly on social media.