The Vitamin Shoppe licenses DC superheroes for BodyTech brand

By Asia Sherman contact

- Last updated on GMT

© The Vitamin Shoppe
© The Vitamin Shoppe

Related tags: Sports nutrition products, Licensing, branding

The Vitamin Shoppe has teamed up with Warner Brothers Consumer Products to launch a lineup of sports nutrition products inspired by superheroes and villains from the DC Universe.

“The heroic action, vast creativity and indelible impact on our collective imaginations of superhero stories – like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Black Adam – have undoubtedly driven the fitness goals and aspirations of many BodyTech customers,” ​said Sharon Leite, CEO at The Vitamin Shoppe.

‘Mightiest collaboration yet’

In what The Vitamin Shoppe calls its “mightiest collaboration yet”​, the launch includes protein, pre-workout, creatine and other sports nutrition supplements in new flavors designed “to match the unique personality and superpowers of its respective DC character”​. 

“This compelling collaboration offers consumers unique new flavors while bringing the fun and excitement of the DC Universe into any superhero fan's sports nutrition regimen, giving them the opportunity to fuel their own origin story,” ​Leite added.

Flavors are then paired with one of Bodytech’s sports nutritional formulas: Black Adam with Black Cherry nitrulline powder “to support massive pumps and endurance”​ and Wonder Woman with Rainbow Sherbet whey isolate “to support muscle growth and recovery”​, for example. 

Other characters making front-of-pack appearances include Batman (to support strength training and muscle mass), The Joker (for energy and recovery), Superman (for muscle building and stim-free focus) and The Flash (for energy and focus).

The long-term licensing partnership plans to build out additional products and flavors, unveiling more members of The Justice League and their foils. 

Licensing in active nutrition

CPG strategist Joshua Schall of J. Schall Consulting says that the active nutrition industry will sooner or later hit a point when licensed products no longer provide enough differentiation for a material level of success. 

“Brands should be thinking about licensing opportunities more strategically,”​ he said. “Innovation to parity is not going to cut it in this next phase, and it’s important to remember that not all licenses are created equal. It’s about being different…not better than incumbents in this next phase.”

The global active nutrition industry is sitting at just over 240 licensed items right now, according to Schall’s database of licensing activity by active nutrition brands. With intellectual property licensing agreements accounting for just over one-fourth of all licensed SKUs, he says that “almost all of these entertainment licensing efforts have been subpar at best”​ but that brands have succeeded when leaning into genuine nostalgic storytelling.

“When others throw a logo on a bottle and make up a creative flavor name, it still lacks the strategic alignment and depth of authentic storytelling that would really move the needle on sales and/or be value accretive to the brand,”​ he said.

Other brands that have recently teamed up with superheroes: GFUEL with members of the Avengers ahead of Sony Pictures’ movie releases and My Protein with its Justice League Hero Series, Superman bundle and Wonder Woman 1984 special edition. ZOA Energy also launched its sports energy drinks as special series featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays Black Adam on the big screen and is one of the brand’s cofounders.

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