How To Build 9-Figure Brands Using Celebrities and World-Class VSLs

There’s a reason everybody goes chasing celebs. The right celeb could be everything. Instant credibility. Instant recognition. Instant trust. But it’s a deal with the devil…”

Those are some of the notes from my call with Jay Sung.

Jay was the ex-President of the Mega Brand Proactiv Skincare & ex-CMO of Guthy-Renker.

Justin Beiber & Proactiv

Jay and his team of rockstars scaled Proactiv to over $1 billion per year in revenue.

With a budget of $20M per year just for hiring celebrities.

Eventually selling the whole brand to Nestle for $2,000,000,000. Thats 2 billion dollars. 🤯

Not to mention all other legendary 9-figure brands of Guthy Renker that he was literally the Chief Marketing Officer at.

The legacy of brands that Jay Sung has been a part of blows my f*cking mind.

These guys don't get out of bed unless we’re talking 9-figure.

He’s basically the Muhamad Ali of Direct Response Advertising and holds a spot in my personal DR hall of fame club next to Craig Clemens, Greg Renker, and Adam Goldenberg.

I personally can’t believe I was able to have two mentorship calls with Jay about a year ago.

The skincare brand I co-founded had plateaued at $3m-$4m per month. And we were stuck at those levels for like 9 months in a row.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find the breakthrough that would crush this glass ceiling and rocket our brand to the $8m-$10m/mo level.

I knew it would be so f*cking sick if we cracked it, and felt like celebrities could be the key for us to unlock god-like scale.

So I went searching for mentorship.

I started looking around for all the biggest brands who came before me and who their leaders were.

During the research, I stumbled upon this video with Jay and Greg Renker spitting straight fire at the Titans of Direct Response event and shot him an email, showed him my situation, and asked for his advice. (funny how Craig Clemens is seen in the video asking questions. success leaves clues)

I had a million questions I wanted to ask Jay about how to get to 9-figure levels and using celebrities in advertisements.

Questions like:

  • What’s the secret to growing to $10m/mo levels?
  • Almost all of your brands have A-List celebrities attached to them. Justin Beiber, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez. Why?
  • What are some of the mistakes when it comes to hiring celebs?
  • When do you start seeing diminishing returns?

Through a miracle of luck, he actually said YES!!!

And we jumped on 2 phone calls an hour each. All completely free. He didn’t charge me a cent. And let me drill him with all the questions I wanted.

What a f*cking legend.

So today I’m going to share with you everything I learned from Jay Sung, on how to build 9-figure brands the direct response way.

Then I’m going to break down the top celebrity-faced brands today that are crushing it online.

So you can get ideas on how to build 9-figure brands pretty damn quickly.

And show just how possible it actually is.


What’s the secret to growing to $10m/mo levels?

“It’s all about feeding the marketing machine” ~ Jay Sung

The first thing Jay did when we spoke was confirm the simple truth of advertising.

In all of direct response, it’s all about feeding the marketing machine.

Which means, you can only scale as far as your advertising is good.

The reason my business had plateaued was because whenever we tried to scale harder, the campaign would start losing money.

We hit the limit of our campaigns. Which is nothing more than a VSL (video sales letter) designed to convert a stranger into a buyer.

The better your video converts. The further you can scale.

The crapper your video is, the sooner you hit your limits.

In my case, we were able to average spending $85k/day ($2.5M/mo) mainly between Facebook and Youtube and average around $135k/day ($4m/mo) in revenue.

Subtract 30% of the revenue for product/business costs and we had a healthy margin.

The problem is, if we tried doubling spend to $150k/day. The campaign would go negative, and we’d only generate maybe $160k in rev. Making us lose a crap ton of money. Hence why we cant scale any further.

When you know the LTV of a customer, you can go negative. But we’re not willing to go negative on day 1.

In Jay’s case, at the highest level with Proactiv…

Their VSL’s were so succesful, that he could spend $50,000,000-$75,000,000 per MONTH and get back $100,000,000+ per MONTH advertising Proactiv on TV. Running $1 BILLION PER YEAR.

Literally they take that video, upload it to the agency that buys the placements on all the TV networks, pay $1,500,000 for today’s ad spend, and something like $2,500,000 of sales would appear by end of day. It’s rediculous.

Averaging those numbers basically every single day for years.

All while their other brands like Meaningful Beauty, which was known to be at the $200m/yr levels, they could spend around $10,000,000 per month and get back $15,000,000.

What have 9-figure brands figured out that the smaller brands haven’t?

How to make a campaign that can be ROI positive at bat shit crazy spent levels.

If you can be ROI positive at $200,000/day+ in spend, easily, compliantly, and consistently, you can own a 9-figure brand. Yes, it’s possible. People have done it. F*ck limiting beliefs.

So what makes the difference?

At this level, all that matters is the video. The VSL.

When you’re going for big scale, the targeting is basically everybody. Broad. Women 40+ America. That’s it.

No bullshit advanced targeting, no interest segmenting, and f*ck your stupid fb hack.

Just upload the video, hit broad, and send it like a Chad.

Assuming you’ve got the backend setup. You’re selling great products so you actually build a brand that customers love. AOV is optimized. And you got a rockstar team of A-players to help you run it all.

The key to massive scale is the VSL.

Your job is to make it the highest converting video on the planet so you can funnel as many people in there as possible.

That’s what got us personally to mid-8-figure levels.

But how the hell do we get to those glorious $10,000,000 months and become a super rockstar 9-figure brand?

Well when you go looking around. A lot of them are using celebrities.

Which is a pretty damn ballsy move because they’re so freaking expensive.

So I asked Jay,

“Almost all of your brands have A-List celebrities attached to them. Justin Beiber, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez. Why?”

Pros and Cons of Celebrities

“There’s a reason everybody goes chasing celebs. The right celeb could be everything. Instant credibility. Instant recognition. Instant trust. But it’s a deal with the devil…” ~ Jay Sung

When I talked to Jay he told me some of the crazy stories of celebrities.

Like how George Forman was making $5,000,000 per month back in the 90’s schilling his incredible grill on TV haha. Love you George.

Or the time he paid Adam Levine $1,000,000 and the guy showed up to the shoot wasted. He didn’t give a crap about Proactiv and was a huge dick then.

Or when Jessica Simpson showed up and it became a became a super transformative moment for Proactiv. Was their most profitable campagin in 5 years.

He told me how Greg Renker chased Cindy Crawford for 6 years. Back when she was famous for being one of the most beautiful women in the world.

She was extremely smart and wanted to be seen as a successful businesswoman rather than how some magazines portrayed her as a dumb model.

Finally after years of convincing, they partnered and she got a meaningful ownership percentage.

They discovered it’s better to give the celeb part ownership of the brand.

Because now Cindy would talk about Meaningful Beauty so much on all of her talk shows and events. It was like her own little brand. She loved it and cared for it’s success.

But things did not start out too hot.

Because when they launched Meaningful Beauty, Cindy wanted to do the VSL her way.

And they gave up creative control to her.

After the first 2 infomercials BOMBED, Jay and his team at Guthy Renker found themselves $12,000,000 in the HOLE with NOTHING. NADA. ZIP.

The video completeld tanked and did not work.

Finally, they ask Cindy if they could just make 1 more video except in their direct response style. Following the proven formula and the classic direct response elements.

She agreed, and the brand exploded. Rocketed to $200m/yr levels and is still running 16 years later.

Back after years of crushing Proactiv, Jay told me how eventually they just started “chasing the high” with celebrities.

They hired Alicia Keys, Puff Daddy, Justin Beiber, and even Kiley Jenner recently.

Kiley Jenner Proactiv Commercial

At that point, it was getting so damn expensive and they started to hit the wall of diminishing returns.

But by golly did they learn some lessons.

Rule #1 when it comes to hiring celebrities. Always look for authenticity.

The most important thing is figuring out if the celeb actually has a story.

The biggest mistake Jay taught me you can make is paying a celeb just to “show face” and say whatever you want them to say.

The audience knows it's BS and that’s what makes celeb campaigns convert like crap.

The celeb needed to have an acne story. They needed old pictures. They needed to show Jay that they actually had acne.

The banger campaign is when the celeb has an authentic true story. Because then you get the benefit of instant attention, instant trust and credibility, and the emotional connection of the story.

There’s nothing better. There’s no higher level. Its influence & persuasion cranked to 11 at the highest level.

Simply put. It’s finding a celebrity who has a rock-solid story, has the authority and credibility to be the spokesperson for a brand, partnering with them, and building out the entire backend for them.

And that's what it takes if you wanna experience life banging $10,000,000 month campaigns. #WhateverItTakesDawg.

Thank you Jay Sung for the incredible lessons.

The State of Celebrity Brands in 2021

While Guthy Renker was the king of direct response a decade ago…

Today there are now new kings of the internet who have appeared.

With 95% of the guys playing at the highest level following the celebrity partnership business model I explain.

Because that’s what works at ultra-scale.

Here’s an example of many of the big brands online who have executed on this idea.

PowerLife with Tony Horton

Celeb Story: Tony Horton, famous for being the guy who did P90-X, and getting millions of people in shape, started to realize he was losing muscles as he was getting older. He went to a doctor and discovered a supplement stack that could help retain his muscles as he ages. So he partnered with a supplement company to bring it to market.

Powerlife VSL:

Powerlife Website:

Unify Health Labs with Randy Jackson

Celeb Story: ‘American Idol’ judge Randy Jackson struggled with his health and digestion for years. Then he found out about 5 digestive jump starters that are like a “power wash” for the gut when added to meals. It worked so well for him that he partnered with a supplement company to bring it to market.

Unify Health Labs VSL:

Unify Health Labs Website:

Activated You with Maggie Q:

Celeb Story: Maggie Q finds herself getting bloated alot. Despite living a healthy lifestyle. So she goes to a doctor to gives her unique supplements to fix her problem. It works like crazsy so together they partnered with a supplement company to bring it to market.

Activated You VSL:

Activated You Website:

Blue Star Nutraceutical with Multiple Mens Magazine Covermodels

Story: Fitness model gets frustrated seeing people doing the wrong exersices to lose weight and eventually give up to reach their dreams. So he puts together everything he’s learned over 20 years. And partnered with a supplement company to bring it to market.

Blue Star VSL Page:

Blue Star Website

Dr. Martys Pets — Nature’s Blend

Story: World Renowned Veterenaties got tired of the lies the pet food industry had been spreading. So he made his own formulations are is getting it out to the public. And partnered with a company to help bring it to market.

Dr. Marty VSL:

Dr. Marty Website:

IM-21 with Mike Tyson

Story: Despite once being a world renowned boxes, Mike Tyson eventually lost his fire, gained 100lbs and was at risk for heart attack or stroke. He went to the doctors who shared a nutrient stack to get him back in the game. So he partnered with a company to bring it to market.

IM 21 Website

IM-21 Sales Page

CBD Gummies — Tommy Chong

Story: Tommy Chong almost died twice from cancer. And believes that using marijuana every day helped him recover. Now he’s inspired to help others expereice the benefits of CBD so he partnered with a company to help bring it to market.

Tommy Chong Sales Page

Tommy Chong Hemp Website

In Summary:

Most people think that these celebrities are super geniuses and decided to casually build out a world class brand on the side.

The truth is, it dont work like that.

These brands were all started by marketers & business guys who saw the opportunity. Reached out to these celebs and authority figures and put together a done-for-you-brand-deals.

Deals where these celebrities can not only create a new revenue stream for themselves, but also just like Cindy Crawford, become more than just an actor or celebrity. They can now be see as a successful entprerneuer.

There’s alot of celebs with great authroity and influence who can take that deal.

If you ever wanna take the risk and make one happen, and you’ve built out a sick team who can help run the backend and make the creatives, it’s a real proven path to making you the owner of a 9-figure brand.

Hope you loved the breakdown. Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions.

Much love. Pete.


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