'Wacky World' of Infomercials, Bubba the Love Sponge Drives Nutrition Retail Sales



Although some nutrition products are sold via only one channel, the majority of nutrition companies operating today employ multi-channel strategies to build their brands and generate sales. Life Extension Foundation, for example, sells its range of 300-plus supplement SKUs via the Internet, a mail-order catalog, an in-bound call center, physicians and retailers. As Nutrition Business Journal explores in our 2010 Direct Selling in the Nutrition Industry issue, one increasingly used strategy in the nutrition industry today is for companies to introduce a new product via direct-response television, radio or mail, with the goal of eventually moving into and driving the majority of sales via mass market retail.

This is the strategy behind Fein Innovation’s natural energy crystal product Fein, which is being promoted via a recently redesigned infomercial and Bubba the Love Sponge radio segments on Sirius XM Radio. Currently, the majority of Fein product sales come through the GetFein.com website (which Bubba repeatedly tells his listeners to visit); but by the end of 2010, the product will also be sold in a wide range of retail outlets, including convenience stores, gas stations, independent pizza shops and bowling alleys—any place that attracts consumers looking for a natural, safe caffeine boost, said Fein Innovations Co-Founder and President Anthony Almada.

A growing number of companies are combining direct-response marketing with a retail sales approach because retailers like the branding and traffic infomercials and other direct-response advertising provide, noted infomercial expert Ron Perlstein. “That’s why larger and larger segments of the stores are reserved for ‘As Seen on TV’ products,’” said Perlstein, who is founder and CEO of InfoWorx, a Boca Raton, Florida-based infomercial firm that offers production, media buying and telemarketing services. “Retail distribution loves the wacky, wonderful world of infomercials.”

Idea Village specializes in helping companies harness the branding power of DRTV to create powerful mass market retail brands. The New Jersey-based firm used this approach in 2008 to launch the Slim Shots appetite-control supplement, which features DSM Nutritional Products’ Fabuless ingredient. According to Idea Village Executive Vice President Ron Boger, Slim Shots is now the No. 4 diet brand in the food, drug and mass channel and is available in 40,000 retail stores. “The product is doing very well,” Boger said, “and is a testament to the quality and efficacy of DSM’s ingredient, as well as to Idea Village’s unique business model.”

NBJ’s 2010 Direct Selling in the Nutrition Industry issue publishes this month. Our 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview issue, which will publish in July, will include a profile of Idea Village and its Slim Shots product. Subscribe to the journal via the NBJ website.

Related NBJ links:

2009 Direct-to-Consumer / Non-Retail Industry Sales Report

NBJ Special Internet Marketing & Sales Issue

Understanding Infomercials: The Science of Direct-Response Advertising Campaigns in the Nutrition Industry

Related Functional Ingredients magazine links:

Supply Spotlight: DSM

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.