GNC Commercial 2017

What do the Super Bowl and healthy living have in common?

Apparently, more and more!

General Nutrition Centers was one of the first brands to announce their 2017 Super Bowl ad buy. Joining the trend of “healthy” advertisers in the Super Bowl ad, they might have been inspired by the success of brands like Bai and Avocados from Mexico in recent years. GNC announced their purchase of a 30-second spot in the first quarter of Super Bowl LI.

But things didn’t go as planned…

GNC Gets Banned from the Big Game

On January 30th, the NFL announced that GNC would not be allowed to advertise during the Super Bowl. Because of substances found in less than 3% of the company’s products, the powers-that-be decided that a GNC Super Bowl ad would be unethical. Turns out, NFL players aren’t allowed to endorse these substances and the NFL didn’t want to send a mixed message by airing a GNC ad in front of hundreds of millions of viewers.

Here at, we’re bummed. I mean, less than 3% of their products? Give these rookie advertisers a break!

General Nutrition Centers had even released a 10-second teaser announcing that “Change is Coming.”

And then, they released the full 30-second banned #CourageToChange ad online:

2016 had been a tough year for the vitamin and supplement store, complete with a $22.5 million fine from the Department of Justice and a stock price that dropped over 50%. To try and rebuild their brand, the company is revamping their stores, adding a new loyalty program, creating a smartphone app and changing their pricing structure. (This must be the change they are referring to in the teaser!)

The plan had been to use the Super Bowl to announce the brand’s new direction. The GNC Chief Marketing and eCommerce Officer, Jeff Hennion said, “We talked internally about how we wanted every man, woman and child to know immediately that GNC was new and different and this is the way to do it.”

Alas, looks like GNC will have to find another outlet for their message.

Super Bowl ads experience