Fitness Chain Consolidates Assignments With Interpublic Agencies

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CHICAGO ( -- Bally Total Fitness Corp. consolidated its estimated $50 million marketing and advertising account with Interpublic Group of Cos., naming Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, its agency of record.

The chain of branded fitness centers, which has a penchant for using scantily clad pop stars to draw memberships, tapped FCB after informally reviewing agencies for the past six months, a spokeswoman said. Last year Bally hired Dentsu's Colby & Partners, Santa Monica, Calif., which produced ads featuring singers Jessica Simpson and Pink. Current spots starring Australian singer Kylie Minogue were created in-house.

To lift sales, the chain also will tout its nutritional products, personal training and weight management programs.

Bally's spokeswoman put total spending on TV, radio, print advertising, strategic planning, talent, production and public relations at $50 million. Bally's spent $15.7 million in measured media during 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Interpublic sibling Initiative Media, Chicago, will continue media planning and buying and MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J., will continue to handle all public relations.