Apr 30, 2010 at 03:30 PM
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Herbalife Activates Sponsorship with Multi-Level Salesforce

We got a tip about this snazzy little production supporting Herbalife's sponsorship of the upcoming pro cycling race, The Amgen Tour of California. From the music, you'd think the controversial supplements supplier is on a race to save the earth, not fire up a sales force. As it turns out, this is another step (see here and here) in the company's ongoing strategy to use sponsorships as a rallying cry for its network of approximately two million independent distributors, compensated largely on commission through the company's multi-level marketing structure. A strategy that has now led Herbalife to drop an estimated $4-5 million on an L.A. Galaxy jersey sponsorship, in addition to sponsoring major triathlon and tennis events, cutting soccer team deals throughout the world and building relationships with a stable of athletes. And a print and outdoor campaign to promote the entire sponsorship portfolio.

Why is it so important to decentralize activation across the sales force? "Personalizing the sale" through its multi-level reps is Herbalife's most important asset (and differentiator) in its fight with vitamin retailers like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe.

Check out Herbalife's video for the Tour of California below, which rolls out company CEO, Michael Johnson and asks its salesforce to "bring prospects to see the Herbalife presence." The strategy seems to be working.

We're convinced. Afterall, who wouldn't want a partner like the one that this week revealed it's been mistakingly paying royalties to Paris Hilton's parents for the past nine years.