Advice From Your Future: Take More Fish Oil

Droga5 Work for Nature's Bounty Aims to Push Supplement Use Younger

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Nature's Bounty is turning to messages from the future and an Olympic gymnast from the past in hopes of getting people to use supplements earlier.

TV ads breaking Monday mark the latest in a series of humorous brand makeovers for NBTY by Droga5, following new work in the past year for Osteo Bi-Flex and Sundown Naturals. The new campaign covers NBTY's biggest brand, so potentially has the most impact. It's also a brand that's been growing and gaining share in the past year, according to data from Tabs Group, but Derek Bowen, senior VP-general manager for vitamins, minerals, herbals and supplements for NBTY, believes it can be bigger.

The idea behind the campaign is "work out, be healthy, take fish oil, and then years from now your future you will thank you," Mr. Bowen said. It takes the form of a woman in a futuristic gym sending a message to her past self – which boils down to advice to take better care of herself and not marry a loser.

"As a general rule, we would like to see usage of broad-line vitamins continue to get younger," he said. The recent repositioning of Sundown Naturals as 100% natural is more aimed at millennials. Nature's Bounty doesn't have much hope of getting consumers that young for most of its products, Mr. Bowen said, but he does hope the brand can get more usage by younger boomers and Gen X consumers.

Nature's Bounty also has enlisted gymnast Mary Lou Retton, gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics, as a PR spokeswoman behind a #DearFutureMe social media and PR effort. It includes a sweepstakes where people who post photos of their own letters to their future selves can win a year's supply of vitamins, a Fitbit Surge smartwatch, a one-year gym membership, and Sports Illustrated cover autographed by Ms. Retton.

Osteo Bi-Flex and Sundown were both declining some prior to new campaigns, and both have seen sales and share trends improve of late, said Kurt Jetta, CEO of Tabs Group. Nature's Bounty has been building sales and share, so the the new effort takes on perhaps the tougher challenge of improving momentum and growing a category the brand leads.

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