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3 Finalists Work Out for Gold's Gym

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LOS ANGELES Gold's Gym International is the final stages of a review for a shop to handle advertising for its franchisees, the client confirmed.

The Venice, Calif.-based client met with three finalists last Tuesday. They are: independent shops Henderson Advertising in Greenville, S.C., which currently works with Gold's Gym franchisees in South Carolina; Riester-Robb in Venice; and Dentsu's Colby & Partners in Santa Monica, Calif. Gold's Gym initially contacted eight agencies nationwide, said Derek Barton, senior vice president of marketing for the client.

Gold's Gym has recently handled advertising for its franchisees in-house. Its public relations account was with Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis.

The review includes creative, media buying and planning and public relations. A decision is expected within the next two weeks.

Barton declined to disclose billings on the account, but said it would be "above and beyond" the $15-20 million total that the individual gym owners spend on advertising. Funding for the account comes from the Gold's Gym Advertising Program, into which franchisees pay a monthly fee.

"As we grow in numbers, it's important to find a partner that's an extension of this department," said Barton. While Gold's Gym's marketing department currently consists of four employees, it is looking for a marketing manager to work with the franchisees and the selected agency, Barton said.

Gold's Gym has 650 gyms in 45 states and 23 countries. The selected agency will work with the client's 620 franchisees (the other gyms are company-owned).

Recent Gold's Gym ads have included keyhole print executions that featured a cutout of the client's logo man and the tagline "It all starts here." One ad has a "No matter what your sport" headline and, through the cutout, shows images such as a golfer, biker and surfer. Another ad, with "No matter what your body" as a headline, shows before-and-after shots from Gold's annual "body transformation" contest.