BSN/Optimum/ABB puts foot in mouth with anti-EAS email

BSN/Optimum/ABB puts foot in mouth with anti-EAS email
by Anthony Roberts

With the recent purchase of BSN by Glanbia Nutritionals, three highly influential bodybuilding brands came under one roof: Optimum Nutrition, BSN, and American Bodybuilding (ABB). Around the same time this happened, their Director of Sales issued an ultimatum to their distributors, saying that they would refuse to do business with anyone who worked with Met-Rx.

This type of negative campaign rarely works, and it has made many people in the industry take a closer look at these brands. Let’s be honest, these are three very profitable and successful companies, but:

* ABB is more or less a RTD beverage company with drinks that taste like windshield washer fluid. They’re packaged in non-see-through bottles, because the actual liquid can best be described as looking like different shades of vomit. The only place you can really find these products is in the cooler at a gym for $4 a pop.
* Optimum Nutrition is a protein powder company. They make a great protein powder, but are irrelevant in terms of product formulation. If you want an amino acid pill with 2,000mgs, Optimum has it. And if you want an amino with 2,0001mgs, then they probably have that too. But in terms of creativity and innovation, especially when measured against their net income and market share, they’re probably the biggest failure in the industry. They literally have never been the first to come out with a new ingredient or compound that shook the market up or spawned imitators.
* BSN has joined the gang, and out of the three, this is the only one who is relevant in terms of product formulation or market position within the more hardcore (pseudo-sophisticated) supplement buying crowd.

So now that three highly successful brands are under one roof, the sales manager is trying to leverage distributors. A lot of guys in this industry have tried the same thing, and it’s almost never worked. It certainly can’t work against a company like Met-Rx, which is owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation, and has had Superbowl champions endorsing their product(s).

Also, (depending on various factors) if these distributors had pre-existing contracts with ABB/Optimum, and this email may be interpreted by them as breach of contract. If these distributors already had a contract with Met-Rx, and this email were interpreted as an attempt to get them to break that contract, then we’re potentially looking at tortious interference. (Note: I’m not a lawyer).

But more than that, I suspect this will backfire because distributors don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do. And because Met-Rx is a popular brand, distributors won’t want to lose money from dropping Met-Rx. And most importantly, I think this email will backfire because tons of people have tried pulling this same stunt, in this very industry, and walked away with egg on their face.