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“The Biggest Loser” O’Neal Hampton’s New Personal Brand


When NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples” premiered in January 2010 it drew more viewers than the Orange Bowl (the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl game featured the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Iowa Hawkeyes).

Contestant O’Neal Hampton and his couples “partner” Sunshine (his daughter) remains as big a draw in everyday life as he did on the show. He’s a local hero in the Twin Cities where he’s lived most of his life.

O’Neal started the show at 389 pounds. He’d lost 139 before he was eliminated in late April. He’s taken off more since then.

I spoke with O’Neal after hearing him tell his story at his church. And what a story it is.

What I came away with is the unmistakable analogy of Hampton’s situation and that of many companies seeking to find their brand – OR THEIR CUSTOMERS!

When I asked Hampton of his challenge he said, without a slightest hesitation, he was in a “dog fight to get his health back.” Suffering from no momentum, Hampton thought the biggest challenge would be losing the weight. Now he says, as difficult as losing the weight was “keeping it off is even harder”.

I immediately thought of brands that have no momentum, have no idea of what’s required to get their mojo back and how difficult it will be to keep it going (if they’re fortunate enough to get it back!). Think of Crocs – those plastic shoes that were quite the rage a couple of years back.

I then asked Hampton what were the two best things coming from his experience on The Biggest Loser. Again, without missing a beat – (a) “getting my health back…I’m happier” and (b) “starting Fitness North”.

Fitness North is “a structured, results-oriented, comprehensive health and fitness experience at a live-in weight loss program I started and own. At Fitness North you are going to lose the weight, learn how to keep it off and change your life for the better forever. There’s hard work to be done on your part – but you can do it! My team of fitness, health and dietary experts will be there to help make your turnaround a success.” I’d say Hampton is leveraging his experience to change his brand.

So O’Neal’s new personal brand has multiple facets:

  • Healthier, happy person
  • Entrepreneur – leverage experience to provide service
  • Evangelist – sharing his passion with others on a journey to weight loss
  • On A Mission to Keep The Weight Off

O’Neal’s new brand fits him extremely well. He’s worked hard to get where he is today. His experience and results gives him credibility and perspective that serves him well as an weight-loss evangelist and entrepreneur.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cynthia permalink
    08/23/2010 10:53 am

    This is a great story, and you are right on target. First and foremost, O’Neal is an amazing, loving individual, and his humility, humbleness and love for his family resonated so well to viewers throughout the Biggest Loser season. He didn’t accidentaly become the fan’s favorite — it was just natural because of who he is and what he represents. He’s a very marketable brand, and certaily the type of brand many corporations are connecting with to support and elevate their health and wellness platform in the workplace.

  2. 08/23/2010 5:23 pm

    Great analysis of where O’Neal is right now. He’s in the happiness game for the long run. Winning against the odds is the other human victory. Fatherhood and what fathers will and can do to make a difference for their children. He helped carry the season for the show and continues to inspire everywhere he goes. Evangelist and Entrepreneur and I’d venture to say social entrepreneur, are GREAT adjectives for O’Neal too. He’s all about having others live their best life possible!

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