Bally Searches for New Creative Shop

Bally Total Fitness is looking for an agency to handle creative on its $35-40 million account, a company official confirmed.

The Chicago-based chain of health clubs expects to talk with about a dozen shops before making a selection, said Kelly Hundt, Bally’s assistant vp of advertising and field marketing. Bally’s heaviest advertising generally occurs just after New Year’s Day, when consumers are deemed most receptive to a get-in-shape message.

Bally faxed a one-page letter to several agencies in early September, with responses due Sept. 21. The client is expected to reply this week to respondents. Projects could include TV, print, radio and promotions, according to the letter.

Several national shops were contacted. Hundt declined to specify what Bally seeks in terms of size or location.

The letter said Bally wants “breakthrough, upbeat advertising,” and asked shops to submit creative samples, case studies and executive biographies.

Media buying will still be handled by Initiative Media Worldwide in Chicago, where Hundt worked before joining the client. Other executives conducting the search include vp of marketing John Wildman.

Bally’s last agency relationship was with Doner in Baltimore, Hundt said. Before that, the company worked with McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles.

The company’s TV efforts traditionally have been membership promotions set against hard-bodied models working out to frenetic music. A spot last month featured actress Daisy Fuentes and urged consumers to “get in the mood to get in shape.”