On the Rebound, Celsius Partners with Fitness Infomercial Icon

In the midst of a significant shift in its sales and marketing  strategy, Celsius has announced a new partnership with fitness infomercial icon Tony Little. Little, well-recognized by his muscular physique and long blond ponytail, is known for his infomercials promoting the Gazelle Exercise Machine among other home fitness products, which have produced a reported $4 billion in sales. Little joins Celsius, a manufacturer of calorie-burning drinks and powders, as a spokesperson and stakeholder in the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are very proud and excited at Celsius to partner with Tony Little, a fitness icon known around the world for his infectious energy and commitment to inspiring and educating others,” said Gerry David, the President and CEO of Celsius Holdings. “Tony brings over 25 years of credibility in the fitness and wellness industry. Tony’s partnership with Celsius will have a direct global impact on Celsius brand awareness as our Fitness Ambassador.”

Celsius, whose financial position in recent years could be described as unstable at best, looks to be on more solid footing in recent months under the leadership of David, a sales and marketing veteran who joined the company in November, taking over the reins from founder Steve Haley. In the months following Haley’s exit, Celsius, which is primarily consumed as a pre-workout beverage, has tweaked its positioning and marketing  in the hopes of broadening its target use and consumer base to include individuals on weight-loss programs. The play appears to have had a positive impact on sales with with the company reporting revenue of $2.5 million for the first quarter of 2012, up from $2.2 million during the same quarter last year, and an increase of 41 percent over quarter four in 2011. Celsius also dramatically narrowed its net losses, which decreased 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

While Celsius had long utilized the tagline “your ultimate fitness partner,” the company is now once again moving to its original marketing message as a drink that helps consumers burn calories, as it is being marketed as “your calorie-reducing drink” and “your negative calorie drink.” The company has also expanded trial of Celsius through single can sales (the drink had previously been sold only in 4-packs) and boosted awareness of the beverage and its calorie-burning benefits via social and digital media campaigns as well as sampling programs at health and fitness clubs. Moreover, David, a former EVP of the Home Shopping Network’s direct response division, has spearheaded a new direct response TV effort for the company’s line of powder mix products. Direct response TV will be a likely stage for new spokesman Little, who knows a thing or two about the sales medium.