SoBe’s John Bello Backs Adina Holistics

First there was SoBe. Then there was the Original Soup Man. Now, the mastermind behind those projects, John Bello, is at it again. This time, he’s behind a new line of beverages called Adina Holistics.

Adina Holistics is a line of five “herbal elixirs” that are 100 percent USDA organic, fair-trade and gluten free. The drinks launched in California and New England in April, and are now rolling out in New York. Bello, by leveraging the same distribution network SoBe used a decade ago, said it would be available in 80 percent of the country by the summer.

The brand’s flavors are inspired by “Ayurveda,” a 5,000-year-old holistic approach that revolves around herbal recipes “known to exert a normalizing and balancing effect on the body.” Its flavors are Blackberry Hibiscus, Grapefruit Goji, Pomegranate Acai, Peach Amalaki and Mango Orange Chamomile. The retail price for a 14 oz. bottle of Holistics is $1.95.

The rollout out approach is similar to that of SoBe teas and juices, which Pepsi purchased in 2000. The brand was built on a grassroots level by leveraging its lizard logo (now the centerpiece of SoBe Lifewater’s efforts), celebrity endorsements and word-of-mouth. “Just finishing the job we started at SoBe; [giving] consumers a better-for-you beverage option that is on trend for today’s tastes—healthy, lighter, sustainable, different,” said Bello who has partnered with Odwalla founder Greg Steltenpohl and other veteran beverage executives.

Yesterday, Adina Holistics announced it signed Filipe Fa and Sione Fa, from “The Biggest Loser” as its brand ambassadors. Others will follow.

Like the SoBe lizard, the Holistics monkey will be integrated into every aspect of its marketing, along with the tagline: “Drink no evil!” Marketing will be “much more viral and social network-based than the guerilla tactics of SoBe, which kind of took a left turn since the sale to Pepsi,” said Bello. “[SoBe is now] plastic, price promoted, and polished.”

Bello, who is also a partner at Sherbrooke Capital, which finances health and wellness start-ups, said his active involvement with Adina Holisitics was spurred by his son. “Why am I doing this? I need a job is the short answer. My son suggested that I quit while I was ahead. Good advice. But like Paul McCartney, if you know how to play the instrument, you keep doing it . . . same three chords, different progression.”