How Five by Five LA Helped Honey Stinger Generate Excitement in the Busy Fitness Category

In the world of advertising, differentiation is a precious commodity. Particularly in the most crowded markets, it is that ability to stand out from the pack that ultimately decides whether a brand sinks or swims.

That was one of Five by Five LA’s challenges when they began working with Honey Stinger, on the campaign that would become known as You Don’t To have Be a professional. In addition to taking on creative responsibilities, the independently owned agency also provided the strategic insights that laid the groundwork for the campaign. The result is a set of assets that strongly affirm Honey Stinger’s brand identity while maintaining a focus on the product itself.

Heading into the campaign, the task was both simple and ambitious: the brand was looking to increase its market share by reaching out and recruiting new audiences that had a more casual relationship with health and fitness. Honey Stinger also wanted to enhance its brand’s prominence, especially among those with a pre-existing interest in sports and fitness products.

Vice President of Operations Jesse Knaack and Digital Producer Harley Roman were part of the Five by Five team that took the campaign from idea to reality. To go behind the scenes and find out how it all came together, LBB sat down with Jesse and Harley.

LBB> You undertook an insightful strategy project as well as creative work on this campaign. Can you tell us more about that strategy process and what you learned from it?

Jesse> Our strategy phase yielded a number of useful insights, primarily about our audience’s nuanced attitude toward exercise, sports nutrition, and their own busy lives.

We learned that our audience is goal (or challenge) driven, they expect a sports nutrition product to fit into their existing training habits, and if they’re going to introduce any new product into their habits, its quality had better be indisputable. These key ideas drove our creative concept, “You do not To have be a professional”. To make sure we were on the right track, we conducted user tests and confirmed that this message resonated with our audience.

LBB> What were your impressions of Honey Stinger as a brand heading into this project and did your strategic work change them in any way?

Harley> We didn’t know much about Honey Stinger as a brand before this, but our research quickly showed us the care they put into developing their product line and product-level marketing. What they needed was a hero branding campaign to bring them all together in a compelling way.

Fortunately, Honey Stinger has quality products and excellent endorsements. So the growth opportunity is significant.

LBB> And how did you finally come up with the slogan You Don’t Have To Be A Pro?

Jesse> Our team created and tested several campaign ideas, but the reason “YDHTBAP” resonated with our target audience was because of the simple truth that anyone can reap the same nutritional quality as professional and elite athletes by choosing Honey Stinger.

So why not wear something the pros wear, even if you’re not a pro?

LBB> And what is the meaning of the emphasis on ‘have’?

Harley> Anyone can consume this product, but the idea that professional athletes use it gives Honey Stinger a little more credibility. If you are competing for world records or world championships, this product will get the job done. Likewise, if you want to set your own personal records, level up in the gym, become a better athlete, or simply live healthier, you can trust Honey Stinger too.

LBB> Can you tell us about your process for the photography we see in the campaign? The images are fantastically amazing – what kind of qualities did you set out to achieve and convey?

Jesse> This target audience is in their 20s and 30s, so we got photos that would resonate with this group. They are educated, have disposable income, and may have a child or two. We wanted them to look at the people in the photo and think, “That feels like me.” I can do that. The moments are authentic and raw, while remaining relatable. This helps to attract the audience, to see themselves and to feel inspired not only to train their best, but also to buy the product.

LBB> And what about your way of thinking regarding the color palette and typography? The color scheme feels similar but perhaps more defined to previous Honey Stinger communications. Was that your intention?

Harley> After spending some time working with Honey Stinger’s existing brand color palette, we decided to really lean into orange and expand it to emphasize intense moments before, during and after exercise. This is a direction that we haven’t seen much in the vertical.

The tagline typography is designed in a way that feels like a sticker you might see stuck to a stop sign or locker room.

LBB> The fitness space is saturated. How did you make sure this campaign would stand out from other work in this category?

Jesse> Through our strategic and creative process, we seek to speak directly to our target customer with a message that resonates. An effective campaign message must be backed by real data and audience insights. Between the creative message and the art direction, Honey Stinger has a campaign that will give them the best chance to break through.

LBB> And finally, the hybrid work revolution has made staying active a priority for many. How do you stay fit outside of work? Do you have any recommendations?

Jesse> Well, I have a baby who has just started crawling, so running around my house chasing him is exhausting enough! I also have an active dog, so walking him around the neighborhood is a great excuse to get out of the house and get some fresh air. My recommendation is to find a place outdoors that brings you joy, be it the beach or a nearby park, and choose an exercise that you can do there. If nothing else, the environment should motivate you to come back again.

Harley> Being pregnant doesn’t really leave me in the mood for a lot of exercise these days, but during lockdown I invested in some home gym equipment that really helped me get moving and get my heart rate up. After giving birth, I hope to use that equipment again and get my body back in shape! However, I recommend that if you can’t exercise, you at least try to eat healthier. Then, propose that next week you will do a day of exercise.

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