Consumers Get Real for 24 Hour Fitness

NEW YORK 24 Hour Fitness this week will unveil a campaign that moves beyond the sweat of the fitness club and into the reality of club members’ lives.

The effort, “12 Million Lives”, via Pena Brand, San Francisco, takes a reality-TV, up-close and personal look at six 24 Hour Fitness members to show “how exercise and nutrition have transformed” them. The spots, which can run as long as 60-seconds, but will also air in shorter versions, will break tonight on Fox during House before airing elsewhere on network and cable. Support includes a dedicated Web site, 12millionlives.com.

Spend for the campaign was not disclosed. 24 Hour Fitness spent $25 million on media in 2006 (excluding online) and dropped to a bit more than $15 million in 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The first spot, “Sharlynn,” follows the trials and tribulations of a woman from Utah who “lost more than 130 pounds and gained her self-confidence back.” Other stories include “Christopher” from Texas, who recovered from a major car accident and lost more than 80 pounds he had gained as a result of his injuries; “Caitlin,” a Texan who used 24 Hour Fitness to help recover from knee surgery and finished a 100-mile kayak race; and “Glen,” a 60-year-old from Texas who lost more than 90 pounds and helped lower his blood pressure and risk of health problems.

The creative follows territory already explored by Bally Total Fitness, Chicago, which last year ran a reality campaign, handled in-house, that followed members over the course of several months as they exercised and reconfigured their priorities to lead a healthier life. As with the 24 Hour Fitness effort, the Bally campaign also had a Web site that enabled people to interact with those in the ads and also to add their own stories to the case files.

“24 Hour Fitness is dedicated to helping people change their lives through fitness and we want that passion to come through in this new campaign,” Carl Liebert, CEO at 24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, Calif., said in a statement. “It’s important to let people know that it is never too late to start a fitness program that will improve their quality of life.”