Bally CMO Seeks Bodies Big or Small

Battling a decline in new membership, Bally Total Fitness will target previously overlooked targets with TV spots featuring more well-rounded models than the hard bodies of past campaigns, said new CMO Martin Pazzani.

“We’re learning that we can’t impart a one-size-fits-all message—literally and figuratively,” said Pazzani, who joined the chain in August from his own marketing consultancy. Previous work was successful at reaching only consumers “predisposed” to join a gym, he said.

Pazzani’s plan includes multicultural efforts, and in late November he enlisted La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, a Chicago and Los Angeles independent, to target Hispanics. He intends to hire an African American shop as well, a Bally rep said.

Pazzani added two other shops to the roster earlier this fall: direct agency A. Eicoff & Co. and promotions specialist Flair Communications, both Chicago independents. Last month Bally ran a 60-second ad from Eicoff using footage from a summer spot out of Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding, Chicago. The ad shows a pudgy woman slimming down with the “30-day makeover.”

While Bally’s is the nation’s No. 1 fitness chain, in the third quarter new memberships dropped 7 percent, with revenue down 1 percent.

Pazzani declined to discuss spending plans. The Chicago-based chain spent $65 million on ads last year and $60 million through September of this year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Aspirational spots with toned models will remain in the mix, Pazzani said. Eicoff and La Agencia de Orci are working on spots set to break in January, the industry’s heaviest marketing period. FCB, where Pazzani worked for six years, is concentrating on brand strategy.