by Matt Weik
By now I’m sure you have heard about the new supplement company created by some pretty big names – specifically Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lebron James, Cindy Crawford, and Lindsey Vonn. Some of those names still mean something while others are has-beens and really don’t mean anything these days. The name of the supplement company is Ladder. They claim their supplement company is unlike anything on the market today but is this truly any different than what you can buy right now?
Let’s break down some of the Ladder supplements founders and get a feel for what they bring to the table.
Lebron James – The dude is a straight up stud. He’s been killing it in the NBA for years and with a big name such as his backing the line, it could bring decent awareness and get the brand out in front of those who have aspirations of being a star athlete one day (but good luck with that). The whole Ladder supplements idea did come from Lebron’s need for quality supplements which then caught the attention of Arnold and then eventually the rest of the founders.
Cindy Crawford – Not gonna lie, at 93 (that’s obviously a joke) she still looks good. However, she doesn’t look that good due to any of these products they are selling. Her name was big in the ’80s and ’90s but today, not so much. I can’t see her name being attached to this brand helping to grow sales. My assumption is they are going after an older demographic with her name to expand their reach and potential customer base.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – HUGE name in the game still today. Arnold is truly a household name that everyone regardless of your background and how old you are knows. However, one thing that could hurt the brand is the fact that he did a deal with MusclePharm years ago that was a colossal failure. It tainted his name in the supplement game for putting his name and likeness on crappy products that people quickly flooded the internet to bash. It’s a shame, but if he didn’t vet who he partnered with and didn’t understand the quality of the raw materials (or fake ingredients in the products themselves), what would make someone believe this brand will be any different and will people give it a shot knowing about his Arnold Series failure?
Lindsey Vonn – Sure, she’s an amazing skier, but really? I mean, we are talking about the chick to was the rebound to Tiger Woods’ scandal which lead to his divorce. Does anyone take her seriously anymore? Especially after all of the political rants she posted and was quoted saying? While I applaud her athletic abilities and the fact that she’s an Olympic gold medalist, I honestly don’t know anyone who talks about her anymore or even gets excited when they hear her name. Most go, “who?”
No One-Size Fits All Approach?
All of the founders agreed that there is no one product that will suit the needs of everyone – we are all individuals with different needs. This is 100% the truth. However, there’s nothing special about their products or product line. There are many brands out there sourcing high-quality raw materials and doing things by the book. Their claim to fame here is that their products are designed to fit your individual needs and that’s total BS.
You have two proteins, a plant-based and a whey protein. And then you have a greens powder and an energy powder. Yawn… Congrats, all of these things already exist on the market and have successful brands already selling them. Looking at the ingredients of each product there’s really nothing different from what’s already in products today and with the same dosages.
I’m left scratching my head how their marketing ploy is to try to have you buy “individualized” products to suit your needs, yet there’s no differentiation from what’s already on the market today. Ladder supplements is literally just piggybacking off of celebrity names it seems.
If someone only wants 12 servings of protein per month and wants to spend the money to get individual packets, go right ahead. Otherwise, you could buy a tub of protein and use the exact same 12 servings and save a ton of money. I simply don’t understand their point of differentiation here.
Looking at their whey protein, the cheapest “packet quantity” still has the cost per serving at $2.00. Pardon my French, but who the fuck wants to pay $2.00 per serving when you can get the same quality product in a tub for less than half the price? It makes no sense. It’s not like we are talking about an RTD where all you do is pop the top and you’re good to go.
It’s a Subscription Brand
Rather than going into retail, Ladder supplements is going the route of direct to consumer. Smart? Maybe. But they will need some heavy marketing behind the line to get it off the ground.
Ladder supplements is basically a subscription-based brand where you can sign up and have the product delivered to your doorstep each month without you needing to place the order. While trying to lock people in with a subscription is a good idea to try to at least get people to use the product under a “well I paid for it so I might as well use it” mentality, I can see people getting annoyed when the time comes for them to cancel their subscription.
How Ladder supplements works is that essentially, you choose how many packets of each product you want to be delivered each month and a nice little box shows up on your doorstep. They have a quiz you can take that will tell you what products you should consider buying and why. Here’s a cheat sheet for you, people should be using all of the products they offer regardless with the only exception being the energy product which can be optional based on your needs. Other than that, everyone can benefit from a protein and greens supplement.
A Challenging Road Ahead
Ladder supplements has a long road ahead of them. Sure, they have all the flashy celebrities and “experts” backing their product line, but at the end of the day, it’s simply an overpriced supplement brand that is trying to do the right thing by the consumer but has no differentiating characteristics from what’s already on the market today. And honestly, I’m blown away by the prices they are selling at. Being that there is no middle man and nothing truly innovative with the ingredients or profiles, they could have cut their costs back.
Let’s be real for a minute, none of the founders need the money or to fatten their wallets with this business. If they really wanted to take Ladder supplements and make it for the people to help with their health and performance, they could have reduced their margins to do so, but that isn’t the case here – it’s still expensive.
I don’t have a crystal ball or have ESP, but if I were a betting man, I’d say the brand doesn’t last very long. The supplement industry, while driven by product quality, is also driven by price. If the price of a brand is higher than a competitor for a comparable profile, the lower price is going to win. Sure, you have brand loyalists, but people are getting less and less loyal as the costs begin to rise for various products.
The four founders of Ladder supplements have the bank accounts to drag this brand out for years without a profit if they have to, but I don’t think they are going to do so. I simply don’t see this brand doing well and gaining any traction at all. I wish them the best as I love entrepreneurs and those looking to solve problems that people could be facing. But the brand is simply another “me too” trying to steal market share of a multi-billion-dollar industry. At the end of the day, none of them should quit their day job.