Happy 16th Birthday, HEED!
The creation story of Hammer Nutrition’s superior sports drink
BY STEVE BORN
Sixteen years ago, Brian informed those of us involved in any aspect of product development that it was time to make the best sports drink possible. It was time to tangibly answer the ever-increasing cries of “Can anyone make a sports drink that’s not loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients and doesn’t taste syrupy sweet?”
It was an ambitious goal but one we were very confident we could reach. After taste testing more formulation prototypes than we care to remember, we nailed it. I mean, NAILED IT. The flavor profile was exactly what we wanted—subtle and refreshing, and without the yucky “my mouth is coated in sugar” aftertaste. Plus, the drink had all of these positive qualities:
- Plenty of calories per serving (110)
- A full-spectrum electrolyte profile (not just salt, which is found in excess amounts in other drink mixes)
- No tooth enamel-destroying citric acid
- Beneficial auxiliary nutrients such as chromium and l-carnosine (which most other sport drink manufacturers had most likely never even heard of)
- No artificial sweeteners (just a touch of the healthy sweeteners stevia and xylitol), as well as no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Yes, sir, we had ourselves a truly awesome sports drink. “So, what do we call it?” was the next obvious question. Most of us just shrugged and said something like “Don’t have a clue, not a single clue. I’ll need to think about that.” After several days of thumping our heads, the predominant thought among us was that the new sports drink creation of ours fulfilled a need.
“That’s it! This stuff fulfills a need!”
“Yeah, I agree. Absolutely. But what do we call it?”
“Something that rhymes with ‘need’?”
And so down that long road we went, trying to find the right name for the amazing new product, one that rhymed with “need.” Finally, someone said, “How about Heed, as in ‘heed your body’s need for the best sports drink available’?”
And that’s all it took. The word “heed.” But it wasn’t really for the “heed your body’s need” reason. Nope. One of the staff members remembered I had worked on the 1993 movie “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” That movie starred Mike Myers (of “Saturday Night Live” and “Wayne’s World” fame), who played dual roles: one of the main characters (Charlie) and that of his father (Stuart). The latter had such a wicked Scottish brogue that his somewhat affectionate name for Charlie’s younger brother, “Head”—called that because of his “gargantuan cranium,” as per Stuart—always sounded like “HEED!” So, in any scene where the younger brother appeared, you could count on the father yelling “HEED!” at him.
At that point, a few of us started referring to our new sports drink as “HEED!” We bellowed out the name just like the Scottish father in the movie, and that was hilariously funny to us. This activity grew to epidemic proportions and drove a few of our co-workers a bit nuts, but we were having way too much fun to stop. Brian was totally in on the fun as well, and he liked the name. “But we can’t name it because of the movie,” he said. “It’s got to be about the product.” And he came up with this great acronym, one that we all agreed was perfect:
Who says you can’t have a little fun while you’re producing the best supplements and fuels on the planet?
Seriously, though, when countless athletes and active people cried out “Enough is enough! We want a better sports drink, one that works, doesn’t contain a bunch of garbage, and tastes good,” we listened and delivered. For 16 years and counting, HEED has been, and continues to be, the refreshingly healthy and highly effective alternative to the syrupy swill disguised as sports drinks. Containing only beneficial ingredients (in effective amounts!), and devoid of all the earlier-mentioned junk, HEED is exactly what you want and need!