Health-club based initiatives are working out for marketers

USA Today recently reported that health clubs have become prime target spots for marketers looking to leverage sponsorship and advertising opportunities.

USA Today recently reported that health clubs have become prime target spots for marketers looking to leverage sponsorship and advertising opportunities.

The Health Club Panel Network (HCPN), which helps create promotions with marketers and place them in the various nationwide clubs that are part of its sales network, has worked with brands such as Aleve on these types of projects.

The HCPN's digital network, which allows for the broadcasting of commercials and other forms of brand communication on the TVs in health clubs, has been used for a number of VNRs. "We've done work for a variety of [entities] that wanted to run their 30-second to two-minute VNR on the TV in the clubs," says Richard Hirsch, chief marketing officer at the HCPN.

Other PR and marketing comes in the form of giveaways, sponsored classes, equipment displaying a special message, TV ads, posters, and locker-room supplies.

Why does it matter?

"Clubs provide a big opportunity to reach thought leaders," says Dennis Roche, president of Zoom Media & Marketing. He says that in certain categories, such as health and wellness, tech, entertainment, and travel, gym-goers are valuable consumers. "They live balanced lifestyles, and they are the ones who will tell others about what they're eating, using, or buying," he adds.

"There's a lot of data on people that work out in health clubs [showing they] are not only active, but they are also very influential in their communities," Hirsch explains.

Just as much as there is a quality audience, the clubs themselves provide big sponsorship opportunities that PR pros can use to reach their target consumer, "but these have to be things that are appropriate and fitting," Roche notes.

"It's a nice environment for people to be able to communicate the launch of healthy products, healthy messages, fitness, nutrition, and all that kind of stuff," says Hirsch.

Five facts:

1. According to the Intl. Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the average health-club member has an annual household income of more than $80,000

2. The HCPN worked with Procter & Gamble to place hot-water-activated shower mats at 200 gyms that would reveal a Head & Shoulders ad

3. Video provider IdeaCast distributes satellite feeds from CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC to about 600 gyms, replacing the networks' ads with commercials for products like Slim-Fast and Propel Fitness Water

4. Nivea worked with Town Sports' New York Sports Clubs to sponsor a 45-minute Nivea Goodbye Cellulite Workout to promote its cellulite-reduction products

5. The IHRSA also shows that there are more than 40 million US gym members, a third of whom are also part of the 18- to-34-year-old demographic, a popular marketing target

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