The Deconstructed Brief

Courage to Change

Courage to Change

Brand: GNC

Agency: Bullish


  • Reposition GNC as an inspirational brand for everyday people


Use the massive television audience for the Super Bowl (over 114 million in 2016) to kick off a major rebranding 

One Thought:

The courage to attack your challenges

Lessons to be learned:

  • Use real people. A number of consumer surveys show a rise in skepticism in the claims of big companies. One way to generate sincerity is to use real people and have them tell real stories. The marketing gets into what the company believes, instead of specific features or products — a much more powerful connection.
  • Go short for mobile. GNC created a series of very short videos for social media to tease the Super Bowl commercial. The spots offered a taste of the inspirational stories and drove home the message to look forward to the commercial.
  • Create a campaign with a long tail. This is common sense to most major brands in 2017. The 30-second commercial on the Super Bowl delivered an abbreviated version of deeper, more impactful storytelling videos available on the company’s website. GNC also promoted the hashtag “#CourageToChange” to collect inspirational messages and stories on social media.
  • Hijack the news. The GNC ad was approved and then rejected by Fox and the NFL just six days before the Super Bowl. Fox and the NFL claim that the ad cannot be broadcasted because GNC sells products that are banned by the NFL. GNC took the fight public with a statement about plans to sue Fox and the NFL. Given the interest in Super Bowl advertising, the story was picked up by publications across the country.

What they told Ad Age:

“Having the courage to change can mean many things, and our customers exemplify that every day. We strongly support the stories of change represented by the real people in our commercial, and we are committed to sharing that as broadly as possible."