Bally Fitness to Eastwest

BOSTON Bally Total Fitness said it has named Eastwest Marketing Group to handle creative and promotional chores following a review.

The Chicago-based client spent $75 million in measured media last year and close to $50 million through the first half of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Various shops and the client’s in-house marketing department previously handled the assignment.

“We believe in taking an integrated marketing approach and were impressed with Eastwest’s one-stop shop capabilities,” said Bally CMO Jim McDonald, in a statement. “Their combination of big ideas, broad-market communications and street-level, business-building execution was truly unique.”

Neither the client nor the New York-based independent agency would name the other shops that pursued the business.

Publicis Groupe’s Starcom and independent Grupo Gallegos continue to respectively handle general market and Hispanic media buying.

Eastwest’s assignment includes building the brand in traditional above-the-line media, as well as below-the-line activities including national promotions and guerrilla marketing campaigns, all aimed at driving annual gym memberships nationwide.

“This is an extremely exciting period of growth for Bally and we’re delighted to help them generate increased revenue and take the brand to the next level,” said Eastwest CEO Chris Bragas.

Bally’s last major national campaign, tagged, “Meet your potential,” was crafted in-house and launched in January. It depicted eight people describing their reasons for getting fit. In one television spot, a husband and wife talked about how they both put on baby weight with the birth of their first child.

Bally operates about 420 fitness facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Asia and the Caribbean.

Eastwest Marketing also maintains Chicago and Los Angeles offices and its roster includes Kraft Foods, Nintendo, Paramount, Reckitt Benckiser and Warner Bros., among others.