“The whole damn thing feels like a con.”
That’s sports journalist Bomani Jones, referring to Tom Brady’s “TB12 Method.”
Rule of thumb: Anytime you see something called a “method,” “system,” “plan,” or “secret,” chances are that someone is trying to sell you some bullshit.
So what exactly is Brady’s “method”? The official website explains:
“The TB12 Method is a cutting edge training approach that Tom Brady developed with his long-time body coach Alex Guerrero to focus on preventing injury and promoting accelerated injury recovery through holistic, whole-body wellness. The approach focuses on maximizing long-term results and Tom credits the TB12 Method for his sustained peak performance as he plays in his 18th season of professional football.”
Brady has been Guererro’s disciple since 2008, when he blew out his knee and Guerrero worked him back to health in record time.
However, Guerrero is not without his critics, and admits that some people consider him “a kook and a charlatan,” in his own words.
For good reason. As has been frequently noted, back before he became TB’s “body coach,” he was an infomercial pitchman for a dietary supplement (i.e., fake drug) called Supreme Greens, which he touted as a weight loss method that also happened to cure cancer.
Stephen Barrett, M.D., who runs the encyclopedic website Quackwatch and has authored several classic books on subject, says “Guerrero’s claims are about as far-fetched as any I have ever encountered.” And that’s really saying something, considering that Barrett lists literally hundreds of alleged quacks on his site.
After getting popped by the Federal Trade Commision for his “Supreme Greens “weight-loss cancer cure scam, Guerrero began hawking a powdered beverage called NeuroSafe, which was promoted as a concussion prophylactic and cure.
From the official website: “Besides protective equipment, NeuroSafe represents the only preventative measure available to athletes to protect their brain. When used consistently, NeuroSafe helps to dramatically improve recovery from head trauma by providing the brain the nutrients it needs to repair itself.”
Not surprisingly, some NFL players gave it a try, and Tom Brady endorsed with the following plug:
“NeuroSafe makes me feel comfortable that if I get a concussion I can recover faster and more fully. There is no other solution on the market today that can do what NeuroSafe does. It’s that extra level of protection that gives me comfort when I’m out on the field.”
But again the FTC intervened and told Guerrero to stop it, which he did in 2012. Next up: TB12.
With Brady’s personal reputation and vast fortune behind him, Guerrero no longer needed to peddle cures for cancer and concussion.
Although Brady doesn’t need the money, he does need things to invest in, and perhaps Guerrero convinced him that his diet and fitness regimen — packaged for sale as a “method” — will truly “inspire a movement that radicaly reforms the way we train and helps up live a more natural, holistic, healthy lifestyle while lowering our risk of injury, increasing our vitality, and taking our performance to the next level.”
So in 2013, less than a year after Guerrero was forced out of the concussion cure business, he and Brady opened the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, located in a shopping mall behind Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play.
Each area of the Center is branded with a lame motivational name: The Grit Room, the Determination Room, the Perseverance Room, and the We Got This Room.
“We Got This” was ripped off from the TDAmeritrade tagline “You Got This,” which was ripped off from the Home Depot tagline “Let’s Do This,” which was ripped off from the Nike tagline “Just Do It,” which, according to the copywriter who wrote it, was ripped off from the convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, whose last words before being executed in 1977 by a Utah firing squad were: “Let’s do this.”
So, if you’re ever lucky enough to find yourself achieving peak performance in the We Got This Room, just picture Gary Gilmore with a sack over his head, getting shot full of lead.
The TB12 logo was created by Adam Padilla of the BrandFire agency. “We assessed Tom’s brand equity and audience, and synthesized our findings in a timeless mark that set the standard for athletes’ brands across the globe,” Padilla explains in vacuous marketing jargon.
And now a book has been created to promote the whole thing. It’s called The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance.
Brady’s ghostwriter for the book, Peter Smith, was a good choice, considering that he previously ghosted “brand futurist” Martin Lindstrom’s books Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, and Buyology: Truth and Lies about Why We Buy.
“Brady launched his food and brain training line before the book, so the book is really not a new product, but a line extension,” explains Joan Schneider, founder and CEO of Boston PR firm Schneider Associates. “The introduction of the book enables him to talk about all his existing products and services, and remind people to buy them. It’s genius.”
“Really, what he’s selling is a lifestyle system — he’s selling hope,” Schneider adds. And the Method’s lack of scientific proof doesn’t really matter, because it’s “working for Brady — and for many people, that’s good enough.”