Herbalife-Sponsored Athletes Excel on the World Stage
By Meghan Magid, Director, Sports Marketing, Herbalife
October 18, 2016
Rio hosted a spectacular Olympics, full of exciting duels, somersaults and races.
Herbalife also had a strong presence in Rio this summer with its sponsored National Olympic Committees and athletes garnering 40 medals in events like gymnastics, shooting and track and field.
Herbalife sponsored National Olympic Committees and athletes are part of Herbalife’s efforts to build its brand through athletes, teams and sporting events. Worldwide, Herbalife supports more than 200 athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Heather Jackson, and teams such as the LA Galaxy (U.S.) and Ajax (Netherlands).
The question is often asked: Why do we sponsor athletes and teams? There are three reasons.
The first is that our sponsored athletes show what is possible with a healthy lifestyle.
For example, triathlete Heather Jackson just turned 32 years old, but she isn’t slowing down. She won three of her last four triathlons this year and finished third at the IronMan World Championship on October 8 in Kona, Hawaii.
“Every day is an attempt to be better than I was the day before and it definitely gives me a piece of mind that I’m using the best product out there,” she said.
A second reason is that athletes reinforce the efficacy of our products. They trust our products to keep them fueled and hydrated before, during and after training and competition.
Athletes also know the Herbalife24® sports nutrition line doesn’t contain athletic banned substances because it is tested and validated by NSF Certified for Sport®.
“I genuinely believe in their products and community,” said Nile Wilson in an Herbalife blog post before participating on the World Stage this summer. “I consider nutrition to be incredibly important in gymnastics, where generating strength and power while keeping your body lean and tight is critical.”
Wilson went on to win a bronze medal on the horizontal beam at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the first Brit to ever do so in this event.
The third reason we sponsor athletes and teams is to increase exposure for our nutrition brand. Fans want to know what their heroes are doing.
Our sponsorship of National Olympic Committees resulted in a lot of exposure. Herbalife24® is the Official Supplier of sports supplements to the Italian Olympic Team, which won 28 medals for ninth place overall. We also sponsored India and Israel. Each earned two medals and the Dutch Swimming Federation, which collected two golds in the 10-kilometer open water swim events.
Two keys to elevating our nutrition brand in sponsorships is to find the right athlete and promote them in ways where their fans can find them using our products.
We seek athletes who are verifiable stars in their countries. People in the U.S. may scratch their heads with our sponsorship of Virat Kohli. ESPN ranked this cricketer from India as the eighth most famous athlete in the world with 10.7 million Twitter followers and 28.3 million Facebook likes. Kohli is “the hottest name from the top sport in a nation of 1.25 billion people,” ESPN wrote.
Cristiano Ronaldo is so well known outside the U.S. that ESPN this year ranked him as the world’s most famous athlete, with 41.5 million followers on Twitter and 110.8 million likes on Facebook.
It’s quite a feat for a company to sponsor the first and eighth most popular athletes in the world.
Once we decide to sponsor these athletes, we’re not just relying on old promotional techniques such as advertisements on television. At Herbalife Nutrition, we are proud to have an active and presence and personality on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and elsewhere.
When Cristiano drank an Herbalife Nutrition shake in this video, it was watched more than 266,000 times on YouTube. That number is the equivalent of fans filling three Santiago Bernabéu Stadiums – home of Real Madrid. And they were all staring at someone they admire consuming an Herbalife shake.
The results at the Olympics underscore our sponsorships. These athletes validate our products in the eyes of our consumers and distributors. They provide global visibility. And they inspire us to live healthy and active lifestyles.
At the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Herbalife supported more than 50 athletes from 17 countries.
We are proud of how these athletes and teams performed on the world stage. Here’s a quick list of their accomplishments:
- Gold medal
- Caterine Ibargüen (Colombia) – Triple Jump in track and field
- Silver medals
- Sri Wahyuni Agustiani (Indonesia) – Weightlifting (48kg)
- Eko Yuli Irawan (Indonesia) – Weightlifting (62kg)
- Rachele Bruni (Italy) – Marathon Swimming
- Simone Giannelli (Italy) – Indoor Volleyball
- Bronze medal
- Nile Wilson (Great Britain) – Horizontal bar