This Is A Thing That Happened: Shaq Edition

January 13th, 2010 by John Krolik


Via ’64 and Counting, Shaq will be on some bottles of Muscle Milk in the Ohio area, but it goes much deeper than that. I’ve managed to get a copy of Muscle Milk’s press release, and here it is:


BENICIA, Calif. (January 11, 2010) – Muscle Milk, CytoSport’s leading Ready-to-Drink protein enhanced beverage, announced today its exciting partnership with the Cavalier’s star Shaquille O’Neal.  Muscle Milk will unveil a special edition bottle with augmented reality technology included in the packaging, offered in Shaquille’s new home state of Ohio. The limited edition, 14-ounce bottle is available in Chocolate and will be sold at retailers such as Speedway, Walgreens, Giant Eagle among others.

The special edition campaign, titled “Genuine 33”, was created by Pereira and O’Dell, and is supported by in- store point of sale, out of home advertising and radio in six key markets including Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo.

A recent innovation in marketing, augmented reality, is an online application that allows the user to interact in real-time with computer-generated imagery. Special instructions on product packaging will direct purchasers to a website where they’ll have the opportunity to see five virtual videos from Shaquille challenging popular Cleveland landmarks such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Key Tower.

By simply holding the bottle and marker code two feet from their webcam, consumers will see what appears to be Shaquille actually popping out of the bottle! While on the website, visitors 13 years of age or older can opt to enter an official sweepstakes with the opportunity to meet Shaquille.

“This limited edition interactive bottle in partnership with Shaquille will engage our consumers beyond the point of purchase and is consistent with our brand as an innovative protein drink,” said Nikki Brown, CytoSport’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Connecting with consumers via the virtual world is a large focus for all CytoSport brands and the opportunity to work with the groundbreaking technology of augmented reality is something we’re very excited to introduce.”

Distribution is exclusive to the Ohio area, however fans anywhere (excluding Maine) can enter the sweepstakes and interact with Shaquille by logging on to  In place of the bottle, a special marker may be printed from the website, which will create the same user experience when held in front of their webcam. Additionally consumers can download a Muscle Milk coupon available for redemption at their local retailer.

The winners will be announced in June and will receive an array of signed memorabilia, one grand prize winner being awarded a one-of-a-kind oil painting of the winner with Shaquille and the chance to meet Shaquille.

I truly and honestly have no idea what to say here. I suppose you can imagine you’re drinking Shaq’s spirit, which could be kind of cool. If you have a printer and a webcam, you can print out the “33” and watch the video without purchasing Muscle Milk, or you can check out the videos now, which have apparently been uploaded since this morning.

Without further ado:

One final thought: if the Cavs drink this stuff, it looks like Shaq will finally be on the bench to start games.