Marshawn Lynch loves candy. If you know three things about the former Seattle Seahawks running back, it’s probably this bonkers run in the playoffs, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” (he actually owns the trademark on the phrase), and his enduring childhood-to-adulthood affection for Skittles. And as he’s navigating his post-playing days, Lynch–whose place in the hearts of NFL fans is secured with the memory of astonishing on-field performances–is using his love of candy to further the brand presence of his BeastMode lifestyle line. Tonight on Conan, he announced his very own line of candy bars, in partnership with hip online candy retailer It’Sugar.
Lynch is bringing three bars to the line–a “Mint Kookie N’ Milk” bar, a “Smore’s Bar N’ Milk” bar, and a “P-Nut Butter Pretzel Bar,” all of which sounds delicious–and they’re manufactured by Seattle Chocolate Company, to further Lynch’s ties to the city in which he played the bulk of his career. That’s not the only thing Lynch is doing to tap into the affection that Seahawks fans still have for him, either. While he’s long been a presence in his hometown of Oakland, California–BeastMode opened its flagship store in the city in February 2015–Lynch will be expanding the brand by opening a downtown Seattle location as well, which will presumably be selling the $3.99 chocolate bars along with T-shirts and accessories.
Making chocolate bars is a smart move for someone in Lynch’s position, too. Navigating a personal brand after retirement is a challenge for all athletes–Michael Jordan aside, the further you get from your playing days, the less exciting it is to young fans to buy clothes and sneakers with your name and number on them–but selling something like chocolate, which never goes out of style, has the possibility of earning lifelong fans. The fact that Lynch’s identity is so wrapped up in candy only helps make that a more intuitive leap, too.
“The strategic plan for BeastMode has always been to expand into categories that are authentic and appropriate for the brand,” Mitchell Grossbach, general manager of BeastMode, told Co.Create. “When [It’Sugar CEO] Jeff Rubin approached us with the idea to create this special line of chocolate bars, Marshawn admired how It’Sugar went about candy with an ‘unapologetic’ mind-set. Marshawn was active in every aspect of the process, from production to packing, even down to the hairnet and apron.”
BeastMode and It’Sugar released a video of Lynch in that hairnet and apron, playing Willy Wonka at the Seattle chocolate factory. Lynch isn’t the first celebrity to partner with It’Sugar–the company’s “Sugarpova” line with tennis star Maria Sharapova launched in 2013, and it famously worked with Saturday Night Live to bring sketches like “Pete’s Schweddy Balls” and “Colon Blow” to the real world–but he’s the latest to stamp his name onto a line of candy with the brand. That’s a big part of how It’Sugar operates.
“We have a successful history of teaming up with like-minded brands and properties to create something truly unique,” It’Sugar CEO and founder Jeff Rubin told Co.Create. “Through our partnership with BeastMode, we are getting one step closer to making candy the new fragrance.” If they pull it off, it’ll be a delicious new world.