Magazine article Marketing

Downside to the New-Age Health and Fitness Fad

Magazine article Marketing

Downside to the New-Age Health and Fitness Fad

Article excerpt

The Financial Times, in announcing Quaker Oats' $1.7bn purchase of Snapple Beverage, described Snapple as "a company that has changed the shape of the US soft-drinks market with its 'new-age' drinks". William Smithburg, Quaker's chairman and chief executive, said the combination of Gatorade and Snapple would create North America's largest "good-for-you" beverage company.

So at least in the US "good for you" is reckoned to be very good for business. We know that growing numbers of Americans are utterly hooked on bodily perfection. Witness one respondent in a focus group in California who admitted to drinking eight pints of Evian every night between going to bed and getting up! The phenomenal growth of health and fitness clubs across the US further endorses the belief of perfect health followed by all ages from teenagers to octogenarians.

Greater interest in personal health is frequently combined with an unwillingness to become "old" much before 60. The once "swinging" generation of the 60s is now maturing into its fifties and instead of abandoning products with younger imagery this generation is taking them into older age. This is as true of Bacardi and Coke as it is of leggings. It will soon be difficult to find products that remain the property of youth culture for long.

This nationwide devotion to the self is almost a new religion; and one which can take business far. It has been analysed as the product of urban, middle-class, safe, prosperous, religion-less bewilderment heavily fuelled by guilt. …

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