Before-and-After Shape-up at Bally’s

CHICAGO In time for the new year, Bally Total Fitness has launched an advertising campaign tagged, “Meet your potential.”

The effort, developed by the Chicago company’s in-house advertising department, depicts eight people describing their reasons for getting fit. In one television spot, a husband and wife talk about how they both put on baby weight with the birth of their first child.

Another commercial shows a 40-something woman who is determined to fit in an intentionally small bridesmaid dress for her brother’s wedding. Both spots show the participants before making their vows and 30 days later.

“We chose to feature regular looking people in our ads that everyone can relate to versus some of the extremes on TV with perfect looking actors or models, or an incredulous amount of weight loss and cheesy infomercial production,” said Bally chief marketing officer Jim McDonald in a statement. “Each story begins with the individual’s stated goal and over the course of 30 days of filming we see the tailored approach Bally trainers took to achieve the goal and a transformation that is both inspiring and completely believable.”

The push broke earlier this week and will roll out nationally over the next month, according to the company. The effort will also include radio, print and on-line components.

Campaign spending was not disclosed. Bally spent $70 million on advertising through October 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. More than $10 million of that total was spent in January because many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.