Publicis, Curves Urge Skeptics to Dive In

DALLAS A rapidly growing chain of women’s fitness centers called Curves will break a pre-New Year campaign designed by Publicis Dallas targeting weight-loss skeptics, the agency said.

The client, which spent a negligible amount on advertising until hiring Publicis in 2002, is continuing its breakout phase with the TV and print effort, the agency said. Curves, based in Waco, Texas, spent $12 million on advertising in 2003 and more than $11 million through August 2004, according to estimates.

With 5,400 centers in the U.S., Canada and six other countries, Curves has grown in the past decade to one of the largest fitness franchise operations in the nation. Since 2002, membership has doubled to 4 million, said Publicis Dallas president Ted Barton.

“When we landed this account a couple of years ago, our ads were very inclusionary, to let people know that the Curves program was available,” Barton said. “Now that it’s been out there and established, we’re going after the women who have a lot of self-doubt.”

In keeping with Curves’ target demographic—women who have avoided typical co-ed health clubs—the new ads breaking Dec. 27 aim their message at “real women” who need to lose weight rather than the hard bodies who usually appear in fitness ads, Barton said.

Publicis produced two TV spots, one showing a little girl cautiously approaching the end of the high-diving board for the first time. With no voiceover, the spot uses superimposed text that states: “Remember thinking you could never do it?” As the girl finally commits to taking the leap, the onscreen copy reads: “But you could.” The ad closes with the Curves tagline: “The power to amaze yourself.”

The dive depicted in the commercial actually was the first for the girl, the agency said.

The other commercial depicts the misadventures of a woman’s attempts at running a 5K race, trying to learn yoga or master an exerball. “Maybe the problem isn’t you,” the text reads. “It’s your workout.” The spot then cuts to a Curves center where women do a 30-minute routine portrayed as fun and easy to follow.

Barton served as executive creative director on the campaign, with Mary Dean and Richard Crispo as co-creative directors. Manuel Moreno, Courtney Cochrane and Richard Crispo provided art direction, and Krystal Falkner, Kristina Schweinsberg and Mary Dean were the copywriters, the agency said. Laurie Shannon produced and Jonathan David directed.