Bally Seeks Shop to Shape Up Creative Projects

Bally Total Fitness is looking for an agency to handle creative projects for its $35-40 million account, an executive with the company confirmed.

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

Bally faxed a one-page letter to several agencies in September, and responses were due back Sept. 21. A reply from the client to those responding is expected this week. In addition to TV, projects could include print, radio and promotions, according to the letter.

Several shops nationally were contacted for the business, including New York agencies. Hundt declined to be specific about what Bally is after in terms of agency size or location.

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

Bally’s media buying will continue to be handled by Initiative Media Worldwide in Chicago, where Hundt worked before joining the client.

Bally’s last agency relationship was with Doner in Baltimore, Hundt said. Before that, the company worked with McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles, New York production company C&C Films, and what was then Hal Riney & Partners/Heartland in Chicago.

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