Thin Is Not Enough in GNC Spot

A soap-opera actress who plays a doctor stars in MARC USA’s first TV work for General Nutritional Centers. The ads focus on women’s never-ending quest to lose weight—even though they may already be relatively fit.

A key insight to the effort for GNC’s Scan Diet weight-loss program is that “Dieting isn’t about being thin, but about being thinner,” said Kris Knie-riem, a vice president and creative director at the Pittsburgh agency.

In one ad, a slinky black cocktail dress swings across the screen against copy that reads, “A little black dress is one thing. But a littler one is quite another.”

The spot and other ads continue GNC’s tag, “Live well.”

The client split with Deutsch in New York on Dec. 31, ending a five-year relationship. MARC picked up GNC’s Scan Diet and Herbal Plus Lines, and fellow Pittsburgh shop Ten United was awarded the client’s multivitamin line. GNC, which is also based in Pittsburgh, spends about $30 million a year, according to CMR.

Jennifer Brinker, vice president of advertising at GNC, cited a desire to work with local shops as well as changes in the company’s marketing setup in explaining the agency shifts.

The Scan Diet work features Deidre Hall, who portrays Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives and who has been the product’s spokes woman for the past two years. According to Hall’s Web site, her character was “the em-bodiment of the struggling woman of the ’70s, the career woman of the ’80s, and is leading us through the ’90s with her incredible beauty, strength, intelligence, humor and love.”

“Women think of her as an everywoman, this sort of confidant,” Knieriem said. “She’s got good believability.”

The spot and companion print ads push Scan Diet’s new shakes and bars. Print appears in tabloids and publications like Soap Opera Digest. A second round of ads is set for the spring “pre-bathing suit season,” Knieriem said.