Henderson Flexes for Gold’s National TV Campaign

Ads from Henderson Advertising for Gold’s Gym franchises in South Carolina has landed the agency in an unexpected review.

Franchisees of the Venice, Calif.-based fitness center recently recognized a humorous print campaign from Henderson as “best among all Gold’s Gym advertising worldwide,” said agency chairman and chief executive officer Ralph Callahan.

“The award speaks volumes about the ability of our creative staff to take a relatively small project and turn it into first-class advertising,” Callahan said.

As a result of the award, client marketing director Derek Barton has approached Henderson for additional projects that agency creative director Andy Mendelsohn said could win the shop a national assignment.

Next month the Greenville, S.C., agency will present ideas for a national television campaign, competing against Dentsu agency Colby & Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., and Jack of Los Angeles, which has handled projects for Gold’s Gym. There is no incumbent.

Mendelsohn said the client is in the process of opening gyms and would be looking for ideas that focus on attracting and retaining members.

Henderson’s initial work was created for Gold’s locations in Columbia, S.C., to appeal to a more mainstream audience. The operation is typically viewed as a place for serious bodybuilders and weight-training zealots.

“Muscle heads,” said Mendelsohn. “People who want to show off a new outfit aren’t going to go there, but if you’re a serious novice, you will be comfortable at Gold’s.”

Mendelsohn’s team created a series of tongue-in-cheek ads that focused, in their own way, on those parts of the body most weight watchers want to trim. For example, a photograph of a mule is paired with the line, “Small ass for sale.” Another ad depicts two anorexic bovines with “Lean calves available.” A third ad shows the rear end of a SUV, its tire cover dangling. Copy states, “Spare tire removal.”

“The biggest problem [for gyms] is getting people to stay long enough to see results,” said Mendelsohn. “That insight will form the basis of our advertising.”

Gold’s has locations in 47 states and 24 countries. Two of its competitors are Bally’s and LA Fitness.