Reality TV vet and host Mark Long — most famous for his role on the inaugural season of MTV’s Road Rules in 1996 — has expanded his empire beyond the small screen: He and three friends have launched Pocket Protein, a liquid protein supplement intended to be paired with protein-deficient snacks and meals.
Recalling the birth of the product — available in “Berry Boom” and “Sneaky Strawberry” flavors — Mark tells GossipDavid.com: “Three years ago, me and my best friends from college, got together and did a pre-party for New Year’s Eve. We are all hovering around the 40-year-old mark, and we were talking, and we said it seems like every time you leave the house, protein is the hardest thing to come by…not everyone can get a chicken sandwich [when they're on-the-go.]”
So, Pocket Protein was eventually born after Mark (the company’s president) and his fellow University of Florida alums Mike Kauffman (chief executive officer), Dr. Lyttleton Stewart (chief operating officer), and Dr. Gio Valiante (executive vice president) finetuned the product’s after about a year. (And Mark says there’s no drama being in business with friends: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We don’t have weirdness.”)
Mark is quick to clarify, “Pocket Protein has nothing to do with energy. It’s not an energy drink. It’s carb-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, fat-free, sugar-free, lactose-free.”
Plus, he says, “It has collagen in it — that’s one thing that separates us. I’ve been taking collagen pills forever. It gets into your system as well as it does in the bottle, as it does in a pill format. I’m 41, and people at appearances still think I’m in my early 20s! Collagen slows down the aging process, it helps with joints it’s great for hair and nails. If you take collagen you will look younger longer. Why not take a liquid format of it.”
Mark says Pocket Protein is perfect to be paired wit those less-than-healthy snacks: “We preach that if you add a little pocket protein onto any carb, we will instantly balance out your meal, and deliver a healthy proportioned meal. If you add Pocket Protein to snacks, you will stay fuller longer.”
And Mark says the market for Pocket Protein is universal: “We want to go after everyone: Soccer moms who can’t pull over for a chicken sandwich, business people who are stuck in the office where there is no microwave or refrigerator.”
And he’s also tapping into less conventional markets: “We’re even trying to get it to the military. We’ve reached out to the Department of Defense, and have done little mock-up bottles in camouflage. We want to send them to Africa for child hunger, and we want to send it into the school system, because child obesity [in the U.S.] is ridiculous. We’re going after a universal goal. We’re not just saying take it after the gym. I want it to be universal, I want it to give back: We’re not a fitness product.”
He adds, “Everyone is a target because everyone needs protein…we’re more we’re more important than toilet paper, because I’m sure some of the tribes in Africa don’t use toilet paper!”
Mark says the company is in talks for Pocket Protein to be sold at Wal-Mart and 7-11 (it’s currently available online at PocketProtein.com), and he’s already gotten it into the hands of The Real World alums Leroy Garrett, Johnny Bananas and Kenny Santucci, among other bold-faced names.
Mark also took time to chat about his first love: Reality TV!
Do you still watch The Real World?
I don’t watch real Real World, but I watch The Challenge [featuring Real World alums.]. With The Challenege there are a lot of new faces; and I’ve always said, “Which is better: The original or new 90210?
What’s one of your favorite competition shows?
I’m addicted to The Voice. I love The Voice. I actually did a segment for Reality101 at Mark Burnett‘s house and interviewed all the judges. I’m such a huge fan. If I could sing, I would audition for The Voice.
What about Big Brother?
I’m also a huge Big Brother fan. I have connected and shouted out to many of them. I have told them if they ever do a celebrity Big Brother, I want in and I will turn the house upside down. I told them, “What are you waiting for?” They said, “Well you’re too well known. I said, “Well do a spinoff! Who cares throw me in there.”
Or any of the competition shows I would do, like Survivor, but they were like, “You’re too well-know. I don’t care!”
The Kardashians? Jersey Shore?
I watch some of the Kardashians, because one of the producers from the challenge, Russell Jay, is one of the producers. I want to get them Pocket Protein.
And how could I not watch the last season of Jersey Shore!? But what was special was the after-show they showed.
So you’re still a huge fan of reality TV?
I still love the genre and support it.
Catch Mark host the TV Guide Network’s “Count It Down: Most Scream-Worthy Movie Moments” tonight, Monday Oct. 22, at 9 p.m. EST.