Planet Fitness Names Barkley Its Lead Agency Across Creative and Media

The independent shop will also handle strategy, experience and design

Planet Fitness previous worked with Hill Holliday. Getty Images

Kansas City-based independent full-service shop Barkley has been tapped as the lead agency for Planet Fitness.

The agency said in a statement that it will be tasked with helping the franchisor and operator of 1,600 fitness centers build and strengthen its brand across creative, strategy, experience, design and media planning and buying. Planet Fitness has 12.2 million members worldwide and aims to “cement its position as the largest and most accessible high-value, low-cost fitness option in the market,” plus target the current 80 percent of the U.S. population that is without a gym membership, according to the statement.

“We’re very excited to work with a purpose-led brand that has a distinctive point of view and differentiated approach to health and wellness,” Barkley chief growth officer Jason Parks said in a statement.

Barkley said it will primarily focus on increasing brand awareness for Planet Fitness, growing its memberships and expanding its footprint domestically and internationally.

In 2016, Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau commented that the company’s biggest competitors are not rival affordable fitness centers like Gold’s Gym, Crunch Fitness or Retro Fitness, but rather movie theaters and restaurant chains like “Chili’s and Uno’s” pulling consumers away from the gym.

“The Planet Fitness brand has tremendous momentum,” Roger Chacko, Planet Fitness chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “As we look to accelerate our growth, Barkley will play a key role in helping to elevate our marketing efforts and hone our differentiated brand positioning. Barkley has an impressive breadth of experience executing creative, business-building campaigns and we look forward to working together to reach new consumers and further engage our existing members.”

Incumbent agency Hill Holliday declined to comment. The IPG-owned agency, which has been dealing with its fair share of woes recently including staff cuts, has held the account since August 2016.

According to a person close to the matter, Hill Holliday did not pitch to defend the account but instead agreed to part ways.

Planet Fitness spent $68.6 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2017 and $56 million in the first half of 2018, according to Kantar Media.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.