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Planet Fitness is moving away from the single holding company model and back to working with Barkley as its agency of record less than a year after appointing a bespoke unit within Publicis Groupe to handle the account.
The Kansas City, Missouri-based shop had last worked with Planet Fitness from 2019 through 2021, before the appointment last September of Publicis’ Team Lift, following a five-month long review.
Planet Fitness confirmed the shift on Tuesday with a statement from McCall Gosselin, senior VP of communications. She noted that the new AOR appointment includes Crossmedia.
“After careful evaluation of our marketing agency structure, we determined that transitioning to a new Agency of Record (AOR) for national marketing is the best path forward to meet the needs of our business and drive the success of our marketing efforts now and into the future,” she wrote via email. “We have a longstanding relationship with the Barkley team and are confident in their proven track-record and ability to continue to elevate the Planet Fitness brand.”
Barkley is already working on national creative strategy for the brand as well as plans for 2023. Publicis’ Team Lift will continue to work on national media planning and buying through the end of the year; Crossmedia will take over afterward. Team Lift, along with Moroch and Zimmerman, will also continue to work on local marketing.
Publicis deferred to the client for comment.
The change follows the exit of the brand’s chief marketing officer, Jeremy Tucker, in May. A marketing veteran who has worked at PepsiCo, Disney and Nissan, Tucker joined the company in 2019 and spearheaded several digital marketing initiatives designed to keep the brand relevant during the pandemic as consumers shied away from in-person workouts.
Hampton, New Hampshire-based Planet Fitness said it was searching for Tucker’s replacement.
The brand spent about $225 million last year on advertising, an investment that was funded by the company as well as franchises, which are required to spend 7% of their monthly membership dues on advertising, according to company financial filings.
Late last year, Planet Fitness rolled out the first work from Publicis following its consolidation with the holding company from a roster of 16 separate agencies.
That campaign was followed by the brand’s first Super Bowl spot, a celebrity-laden clever commercial starring Lindsay Lohan and William Shatner, among others. The gym was one of a host of wellness brands advertising during the Big Game.
Planet Fitness “experienced some challenges with our national and local marketing and advertising agency consolidation efforts,” CEO Chris Rondeau said on a May earnings call. But he also noted that “we believe that the long-term benefits from the consolidation of agencies outweighs some near-term disruption.”
Rondeau said that by working with Publicis and moving from a localized model with franchises to a national model, Planet Fitness was able to better glean data insights into how marketing was functioning for the company. But he also alluded to potential agency expansion.
Planet Fitness’ first-quarter revenue jumped 67% to $186.7 million. The company will report second-quarter results on Aug. 9.
Contributing: Brian Bonilla
In this article:
Adrianne Pasquarelli is a senior reporter at Ad Age, covering marketing in retail and finance, as well as in travel and health care. She is also a host of the Marketer’s Brief podcast and spearheads special reports including 40 Under 40 and Hottest Brands. Pasquarelli joined Ad Age in 2015 after writing for Crain’s New York Business, where she also focused on the retail industry.