Be a Doll—Try Crunch Fitness

NEW YORK Crunch Fitness, the gym that once showcased people in their underpants, has gone in a different but no less offbeat direction in its latest campaign.

The client’s first work from Mother since the independent shop added the account last year features doll-like vinyl characters in unusual situations.

In one ad, a young man rears back, preparing to fire a red ball at a placid bearded hippie type. The copy reads, “Rod is always happy to teach someone dodgeball.”

Paul Malmstrom, cd at Mother in New York, said of the new work: “They have had their message which is ‘No judgments,’ but they are now signaling a change with, ‘We all crunch.'”

The shop created seven characters, known as “Crunchers,” with distinctive personality traits and MySpace pages.

“Sometimes when you portray your audience, you can end up in iffy territory,” said Malmstrom. “We found that by translating these personalities to dolls, they turned out to be very welcoming.”

New York-based Curious Pictures created the figures used in the ads.

Spots will break on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and ESPN, among others, while print appears in Time Out, San Francisco Weekly and New York magazine. A newspaper comic strip is also in the mix.

“We wanted to make it relevant, interesting and fun—but at the same time, not a gym people graduate from,” said Christina DeGuardi, senior director of marketing and communication at Crunch, which has gyms in Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. “Crunch was coming off as brand from the ’90s. Mother took everything that was great about Crunch and made it more relevant,” she said.