We’ve reached a point in the health and wellness industry where we are starting to see through manipulative marketing tactics and brands preying on insecurities. While some of this has not completely gone away, I do feel the general public is becoming more discerning about the products, messaging and content they take in, and the manipulation simply isn’t going to work anymore.
Personally, I am a Registered Dietitian that started her educational and professional journey in 2010 and officially became an RD in 2015. Especially given this timeline, my millennial colleagues and I have a pretty unique perspective. As our clinical education was expanding, our own personal health journey was probably also growing in its own unique way. Along with this, something else was also changing pretty rapidly- the internet and social media space. From a personal standpoint, I would say there is a lot of beauty and growth with this, along with some conflict and confusion. We are, without a doubt, changing the way we market ideas and products, changing the way we educate ourselves, and ultimately changing our approach to health.
From the start of my professional journey until now, there are certain brands, messaging and approaches that I really identified with. There were others that simply didn’t sit well with me, and sometimes I couldn’t verbalize why. Over the years, I’ve learned that focusing on the bright spots will work every time over pointing fingers. Here are some characteristics of brands that I really identify with (and I predict we will see more of these):
Now, let’s look at some brands with some of these features:
First of all, this is a product that I approve of for health reasons (that is a prerequisite for any of these brands featured), but this article isn’t about that. It seems that all of their messaging is rooted in integrity, simply stating how AG1 can be supportive of your health without any shock factor language. If you really do some digging, you’ll find that none of their messaging talks about weight loss, which we all know is the number one way most companies feed off of insecurities.
Most of their content embodies real life. They portray AG1 as a means to simply do more, without health being its entire identity. Most of the battle for anyone trying to do big things in life is simply feeling good while doing it, and AG1 gets that. My favorite aspect of their marketing is their morning people campaign, which is a refreshing take on morning routines.
I’ve always been a fan of sweetgreen, as I am their target market- “urban millennials”. They’ve recently made even more changes to their brand that make me love them even more. They are the perfect example of signifying to their audience that they are healthy without health being their entire identity. Their simple, core mission is to connect people to real food. They’ve recently started highlighting chef collabs, making this more about romanticizing food and embracing the culinary side of this restaurant chain. SG has also added protein bowl options and are no longer just about salads.
Olipop solves the problem of being a low sugar alternative to soda that is actually supportive of gut health, yet its target market is beyond the health and wellness niche. In fact, the co-founder and CEO of Olipop explains that “consumers don’t want to have health-related information too broadcasted.” At a time where we have been bombarded with health related marketing buzz words for the past few decades, even for products that were only surface level “healthy”, he’s kinda right. Olipop does a great job of looping in nostalgia with drinks from childhood. The grape soda and root beer certainly bring me back to those hot 90’s summers.
This is one NA liquor that I can really identify with, from their online presence to the taste to the sheer look of the bottle. This has a vintage European look and takes you straight to the Mediterranean. As the sober curious movement continues, Ghia taps into style, nostalgia, making memories, and simply doing more in life. This is a unique spin that taps into a bigger issue of mindless binge drinking by simply giving consumers a desirable alternative. Count me in.
Why this Matters
Note that these are brands that drew me in for the above reasons, but there are other brands out there with some marketing similarities. I think all of the anti-diet culture language in the past decade has taught us that we can be easily influenced, and these influences can have long term individual and societal impacts. The target market for all of these brands are educated, are ready to take ownership over their health, and ready for intentional food, beverage, and supplement choices that they actually enjoy.
In the near future, I think we’ll keep hearing the word “integration” surrounding health more and more. The truth is, real health isn’t all encompassing and all that you think about. It is simply one part of the whole picture of your life. I feel that these brands get that, and hope to see more brands follow their lead.