Planet Fitness Moves Creative to Red Tettemer + Partners

Gym lifts account up from Mullen, puts it down in Philly

Philadelphia-based Red Tettemer + Partners has won lead creative and media planning duties for everyman gym Planet Fitness, Adweek has learned.

The Newington, N.H.-based chain awarded the business to RT+P after a review that included nine agencies and a final round involving three. The incumbent, Boston-based Mullen, was not invited to defend, according to Planet Fitness vp of marketing Eric Vaden.

The review consisted of an initial round of meetings aimed at assessing the nine agencies' capabilities, Vaden said, followed by a round in which three agencies were invited to pitch media-planning assignments and a social media assignment. The brand has on-the-shelf, yet-to-air creative from Mullen that will run through the summer, but RT+P’s future responsibilities will include developing new creative for television and other channels.

Planet Fitness, founded in 1992, ranked #1,332 in the 2011 edition of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest-growing private businesses. The company sports 537 franchise locations and plans to have more than 630 by the end of 2012.

Planet Fitness spent $14.9 million on advertising across media in 2011, according to a Kantar estimate. The company bought its first national media exposure this year, Vaden said, through a package with NBC that included advertising time as well as an integration with The Biggest Loser, a show in which contestants exercised using Planet Fitness equipment and, in some cases, at its gyms. “As a company we had just hit 500 national locations…That was a benchmark we had marked; we're large enough now to have minimal waste in a national ad campaign,” Vaden said. The company plans to ramp up its spending on national media. “You'll see us in multiple areas rather than just in one area or one network,” he said.

Mediacom, a RT+P partner, will handle media buying and work with Planet Fitness on future television integrations, Vaden said.

Vaden took the marketing post at Planet Fitness in December 2011, after eight years in the marketing department at Geico.  While a brand hiring a new marketing chief often gives way to a shakeup of its agency roster, Vaden said the review for the account—which began in mid-May—was not a fait accompli.

Mullen had been working on the brand since 2010, launching its first work in October of that year. The spots, which make fun of meat heads to drive home the brand’s point of difference as a gym for regular people—rather than muscle-bound freaks—were shortlisted at Cannes in the film category in 2011. A new spot for the brand launched in February of this year

RT+P also works for clients like Century 21 and Henkel’s Dial for Men. The agency’s cross-platform experience with brands like Under Armour’s women’s line of clothing, which has a customer profile similar to Planet Fitness, helped increase its appeal as a partner, Vaden said.

The 15-year-old, 60-person agency, meanwhile, will staff up to accommodate the account, according to RT+P president and chief creative officer Steve Red.  “Due to new business wins including Planet Fitness and an increased workload from current clients, we are in the process of hiring people in creative, account management and digital/social,” he said. 

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.