health and fitness

Planet Fitness Pokes Fun At Erectile Dysfunction In New Year's Campaign

Planet Fitness has long made a big deal out of exercise's ability to make people feel better. But its new push vaults exercise's benefits to the apex of pharma-TV jargon: It wants to help people replace their Low-E with Big-E.

And yes, it does poke the erectile-dysfunction category. The ad opens with a woman too pooped to finish making pigs-in-a-blanket. "Wrap those little wieners?" she asks. "Not with my Low-e." Another vignette features a guy too tired to blow up a balloon.

Jamie Medeiros, chief brand officer of Planet Fitness, tells Marketing Daily why the New Hampshire-based company chose this approach for its New Year's campaign.

Marketing Daily: First, why start the year with this kind of spoof?

Jamie Medeiros: We talk about the barriers to fitness and how we can get non-exercisers -- about 80% of people -- off the couch. One of the best ways we can do that, and one that fits our brand perfectly, is with humor. It is challenging to start a fitness routine and stick with it, but we don't want to take ourselves too seriously. And we want to show that Planet Fitness is a really fun place to be.



Marketing Daily: The actors are all funny. Are they well-known?

Medeiros: No, they're not celebrities, and yes, they're very funny. They represent our membership.

Marketing Daily: I get the humor. But like last year's campaign, which had people like Dennis Rodman, Lindsay Lohan and William Shatner talking about mental health, it's pushing a less common benefit of exercise. Why talk about energy and not weight loss or big biceps?

Medeiros: This idea of a lack of energy keeps coming up in our own research and elsewhere. Before this campaign, we did a survey that found 89% of people feel they don't have enough energy. And it's not just that they're tired from the rush of the holiday. It's all the things we've been through in the past few years.

That idea resonated with us. People said they'd give up things like shopping and social and caffeine for a year if they could just get more energy.

And energy is an immediate benefit to working out. You move more, and you feel better -- it's instant gratification. Even if you only work out one or two times, these spots articulate that you'll get that post-workout glow.

Marketing Daily: This is a New Year's campaign. The ads broke in connection with your ongoing sponsorship of Times Square New Year's Eve, pushing a special promotion -- $1 down and $10 a month through Jan. 12. And typically, your industry is at its busiest in January, with a sharp falloff afterwrd. Is that still true?

Medeiros: We love that question! This offer is a no-commitment, cancel anytime offer. We want people to start in fitness and stick with fitness, but we also know that life happens. We want to make it easy to come and easy to leave and easy to come back. So we provide a first-class member experience, but if they need to pause for a few months, we also want to make that an option. Things get busy. We want to be here for them if they join the first time or the fifth.

Marketing Daily: Where are the ads running?

Medeiros: We're running on multiple channels, traditional and digital. And while we're leaning into different messages throughout the campaign, all the focus is on getting big fitness energy at Planet Fitness.

Marketing Daily: What metrics will prove to you that this approach is effective beyond new members?

Medeiros: We're measuring acquisition and engagement, of course. And we want to get people talking, so we'll also measure social sentiment. We're seeing great engagement already, and it's just been a few days.

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