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GNC Selects Edelman as PR Shop, Seeks to Capitalize on Mainstream Wellness Interest

Move Comes Months After Appointing McKinney as Creative Agency

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Health and supplement retailer GNC has hired Edelman as its PR agency of record after a competitive review that began last fall.

The selection comes nine months after the retailer's initial public offering. Since the April IPO, its stock price has risen almost 80%, said Exec VP-Chief Marketing Officer and Head of e-Commerce Jeff Hennion.

"Last year we took the company public and we were pleased [with] the performance of the stock," he said. "The next step for us is really telling the story about GNC and about how we are the mainstream health and wellness and sports-nutrition retailer."

Prior to the selection, the company had handled PR in-house. Mr. Hennion has also switched GNC's creative agency to McKinney since joining the retailer in early 2011 from Dick's Sporting Goods in November.

The changes are part of a broader strategy to refocus the brand's positioning at a time when "wellness trends, at the macro level in the U.S., are so strong," Mr. Hennion said.

"In the past, we were more about the science and the products," he said. "It's not just about the products we sell; it's about really integrating ourselves into health, wellness and sports editorial, and into people's lives, talking not just about products we're launching but also how to live a healthier life."

Edelman will support the brand's PR and cross-platform engagement strategy. Communications initiatives might leverage existing web platforms and the company's medical advisory board, Mr. Hennion said.

The new relationship won't affect GNC's existing relationship with financial-communications partner Marketcom.

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