Interview with the LA Muscle director. Conducted by Terry Davison on 20th April 2005 in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Thanks for taking the time to see me, I know you are busy. First of all why are you in Cyprus?
No problem Terry. I am in Cyprus for a couple of days just to oversee our Mediterranean operations. Lovely island, lovely people, fantastic food and great weather. I wish our primary headquarters were here.
I know what you mean. Ok let's get down to business. As you know I wanted to interview you specifically on the Ferrari giveaway contest as opposed to LA Muscle or anything else.
That's fine with me Terry.
I think the first thing that popped into my mind was, are you mad?
Ha, ha. No, I don't think I am but then one is not the best person to judge one's sanity! If you mean am I mad in giving away my beloved car, then I don't think I am. I just thought of it on the spur of the moment and took decisive action. Too late now… (he laughs).
Why are you giving it away? Is there anything wrong with it?
Of course not! This is a beautiful Testarossa. It is red with original cream leather interior. It is a flat 12 engine and is fast; crazy fast. I don't drive it much as it attracts way too much attention. It is something else though. A real sports car with none of the restraints that you have on modern day Ferraris like stability control!!!
I am giving it away for 2 reasons. I would like to explain. Firstly, I am giving it away because I am grateful to all LA Muscle customers who are loyal to us and believe in our brand, products and what we are trying to do. I don't think many people can afford a Testarossa in their lifetime. I know I certainly couldn't a few years ago. This gives each and every one of our customers a real and fair chance to own a super-car. I think it is a great idea and if I was a customer myself and a supplement company did this, I would be a very happy customer.
So basically I put myself in the shoes of a customer and thought what would be a great and crazy thing to do. Give away free products? Reduce prices? Bring out a new product? We do that already, but give away a Ferrari Testarossa, well that's original and exciting.
The second reason is that we are an exciting off the wall company. People can have whatever impression they want of us but those around us and those who really know me and the team know that we are not your average sports supplements company and this is why we have grown so much.
Back in our UK headquarters, we have Lizards as pets, pool tables in our team area, all manners of super-cars parked outside and we do unexpected things. A few months ago we gave all customers during a 7 day period a free £50 product without even advertising it.
Isn't this a rather expensive prize to give away?
Yes and no. It's all relative. If you consider that we have spent over £1,000,000 on research and development of new products over the last couple of years and each of our shipments is probably the price of 50 Testarossas, then no, this is not an expensive prize.
However in terms of me foregoing something and giving it away, then yes it is an expensive prize. People who know me know that I started LA Muscle with £10,000. I sued my old law firm and got £5,000 and took out a loan for £5,000. That £10,000 has now been earned back. Everything else is a bonus. The Testarossa is one of my pride and joys but I just think how great it would be to call one of entrants to the competition and say, "hey this is LA Muscle and you have just won the Ferrari Testarossa!" Obviously it is good exposure for us in the mean time too. So as far as I am concerned, once I got beyond my own attachment to the car, it was a win win situation.
So you are doing it for the thrill or to show that you are not profit minded or that you are giving something back to the industry?
I am doing it to bring a bit of excitement to the industry and to give one of the people interested in the LA Muscle brand a REAL chance of owning a super-car. By the way you said giving something back to the industry. This is funny because I don't know anyone else that gives as much back to the industry as us.
If you look, you will see that we pour a huge amount of money back into sponsoring body building shows and keeping this great sport alive. We sponsor everything from qualifiers for the NPA, BNBF, NABBA and EFBB to the Mr Universe contest. This is not done for profit but to ensure that shows can be run and body builders have a stage to show off their hard work.
As far as researching and developing new products, we can just as easily be like everyone else and re-package generic brands but we don't do this. We spend millions on researching new ingredients to bring out innovative new products.
So what's the deal? What do readers out there have to do to win the car and what do you mean by a real chance? What chance do they really have?
The deal is very simple. The competition is open to everyone over the age of 16. Just to prove that we don't discriminate, you don't even have to order from LA Muscle or be an existing customer.
To enter the competition, you just have to fill in the form on LAMUSCLE.COM, answer a simple question correctly and then either call or text the competition line. The competition is open to overseas people too!
Is there some ridiculous charge for calling?
No, only £1.50 for a text or £1.50 a minute for a call, which should last no more than 1 minute. We had to do this; this is a massive competition and we needed to put an infrastructure in place which can handle the logistics behind it. This means taking the phone calls, recording the entrants and eventually giving the prize away. This is the most cost effective way we found of doing this. We are talking about a prize worth tens of thousands of pounds so in relative terms, it is not exactly a massive gamble.
The chances of you winning the car are high, certainly a lot higher than many other competitions. You can increase your chances by registering more than once.
Sorry to ask this but I am sure readers will be thinking this. What is there to make them believe that you really are going to give the car away and that this is not a stunt?
A very good question and something that we thought about long and hard. The fact is that the car exists. This is always a good start in a giveaway competition… (he laughs). It is my car and has already been fully paid for. We are giving it away because how can we not after all the publicity?
The competition will be run fairly and independently witnessed. We will also have media present at the giveaway and broadcast everything on LAMUSCLE.COM.
A more valid question would be what if we fixed it so one of our own or a relative won? This we will never do. I can give you many reasons such as the fact that it is independently witnessed and covered by the media but I will give you one reason and that is because I am giving the car away. That may not be enough for people who don't know me, but if you believe in the integrity and reputation of LA Muscle, then you will automatically believe in the integrity of this competition.
Just as we wouldn't sell supplements if they didn't work or we wouldn't promise something that we couldn't deliver, we would not run a competition any other way than in the best and fairest way possible.
This is a genuine and fair competition and there will be a randomly selected winner at the end. He or she may be 17 or 70, from the UK or Iceland. We will have to wait and see but I for one can't wait as it is so exciting. It can be anyone from anywhere. It could be a penniless person from London or a millionaire from Florida. It could be one of our many celebrity clients or an average Joe who had logged on to our web site by accident.
Where is the car now and are you still driving it?
The car is back in London stored away. I do drive it because you can't leave a car like that standing around. It doesn't like it! I don't drive it much though and now that we are giving it away I am going to only drive it the bare minimum until the day of the giveaway. We are storing the car with a Ferrari garage and they are taking care of it. Some days it is outside LA Muscle, others stored away.
Who do you want to win the car?
Oooh, where did that come from? That's a very good question Terry!
Thanks, I am a journalist!
Right. Ummm, oh god, that's a tough one. I would like one of our team members to win in a way because they have physically seen the car in London and love it. But to be fair, we have excluded LA Muscle Team Members from entering as if by some freaky chance one of them won, no one would believe that the competition was fair!
So I guess I would like someone who is really into Italian cars to win it. I wouldn't want someone to win it and just sell the car, although I can see it happening. The Testarossa is not for everyone. Initially, it is very difficult to drive but when you get used to it, there are very few cars like it.
I would like somebody with a passion for Italian Cars and a passion for body building to win. This would be the ideal winner. But then again any winner would be good.
What if the car caught fire before the giveaway or got stolen or encountered mechanical problems?
Good question again Terry. We have thought about this one already. The car is fully insured anyway but if any of the above did happen (heaven forbid) then we would immediately get a replacement vehicle of similar or higher value. Basically there would be no wait for the winner. Once they win, they can pick their prize up the next day.
When is the deadline for the competition?
15th of December 2005. This gives a large number of people a fair chance of entering and giving the car away at that time means one lucky person will have a Ferrari Testarossa for Christmas.
What will you do for a car once it is given away?
I have another car, so I am ok.
Any other plans to give anything crazy away?
Actually we have several plans but I can't tell you at the moment. We want LA Muscle to be known as a company that gives you more than jut a beautiful body. We can also make dreams come true. The expansion and success of LA Muscle has been a true dream come true for me and I have never ever lost touch with where I started from. You may think it's corny, crazy or whatever. We are going to keep doing things like this for as long as we are around and you can either take part or watch from the sidelines.
Any final words.
Yeah, loads but I know you need to get back to Larnaca for your flight. I know I always say this but I feel like I need to repeat just how grateful we are to LA Muscle customers. You have really embraced our products as well as our philosophy.
Just before leaving for Cyprus I had several sponsorship enquiries on my desk. Do you know who 2 of them were from?
The current Mr Britain and the current Miss Britain. What an amazing complement that the 2 greatest body builders in the UK want to be sponsored and supported by LA Muscle. We invest a huge chunk of all our profits back into researching products, sponsoring athletes and shows, bringing you news and photos of competitions and generally keeping Body Building alive in the UK and now worldwide. Without all the LA Muscle Club Members, LA Muscle Gold Members, body builders, athletes, readers and alike, none of what we do would be possible.
The Ferrari Testarossa giveaway competition is another way of saying thank you. Enter it. You never know, you may well be the winner, in which case you will be invited to come down to LA Muscle's London Headquarters and collect an amazing once in a lifetime prize.
Thank you very much for your time.
Thank you Terry and have a safe flight back home. Make sure you enter.
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