TwinLab Pursues Hard Bodies

NEW YORK In a $5 million print and outdoor campaign aimed at strengthening its bond with core consumers, nutritional supplement maker TwinLab has enlisted bodybuilder Lee Priest, the body double for the computer-animated model in the upcoming movie adaptation of The Hulk.

Despite the movie’s broad appeal, the campaign from Hanft Byrne Raboy & Partners in New York pivots on Priest’s reputation as an internationally known bodybuilder and attempts to move the brand away from the mass-market audience it has been courting for the past few years, said Robert Walker, client director of marketing and sports nutrition.

While ads for the IronMan-branded supplements and fat-burning products like Metabolife target a broader audience, the annual $2 billion sports nutrition industry cannot afford to ignore some 1 million hardcore bodybuilders who feel they are underappreciated, Walker said.

“Because it’s quite a niche category, you have to really talk to the consumer and they can tell straightaway if you’re trying to pretend to understand them or if you really get it,” Walker said. Priest is the perfect pitchman, because he embodies the bodybuilding lifestyle, which is more about looking after oneself than just getting big, he said.

“It’s not just a silly, throwaway hobby that nobody understands,” Walker said.

A shirtless, bespectacled Priest lifts weights in ads touting supplements for amateur and professional weight lifters. One for TwinLab’s XE and XA “fuels” states: “When building muscle is your sport, it’s a 24-hour job. Have enough fuel?” All bear the tagline, “This is my sport. This is my sports nutrition.”

The ads will break on Feb. 28 in Muscular Development, Muscle Magazine and other bodybuilding publications. In addition, posters will appear in the weight rooms at Gold’s Gym and World Gym, Walker said.

Priest will also partner with TwinLabs in its “Live Like a Pro” bodybuilding competition, in which the winner will receive a $50,000 contract to model in the client’s ads.