Massage Envy Changes Its Message to Appeal to Millennials and Boomers

Rebrand Aims to Hammer Home Idea That They're More Than Just a Treat to Yourself

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Debbie Gonzalez
Debbie Gonzalez
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After breaking into the wellness market in 2002 with a service considered by many as a luxury or a health treatment, Massage Envy has rebranded in recent months in an effort to reach millennials and boomers who see wellness as an important part of their lives. And if this move brings in a few more males as well, that's even better.

The new "Because Everything" campaign, created by Venables Bell & Partners, aims to shift the perception of massages as a "treat" to showing how they can help people deal with common injuries or daily aches and pains.

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"There is a cultural shift happening," Massage Envy's Chief Brand Officer Debbie Gonzalez said. "Boomers are aging and becoming more health and wellness focused, and millennials already come to this space with that mentality."

The rebranding process at the franchisor, which has more than 1,100 locations in 49 states, began in 2014. "We have come a long way since the company's start, and a lot of people copied our model," Ms. Gonzalez said. "We needed to plan the future of the brand."

With this in mind, the concept of a place that helped its members to take care of themselves in a more holistic way started to take form. "It was an opportunity to make the brand more modern and approachable with the idea that the regular life we live brings opportunities to benefit from massages and skincare," said the exec, who joined Massage Envy two years ago after more than a decade at Petsmart.

And it's not by chance that the new ads feature men, as the company also wants to reach more males, who now make up 25% of Massage Envy's current client base. But ultimately "our target demographic is more lifestyle-defined -- people who are active, who travel. It's lifestyle first, gender second," she said.

The campaign will include digital marketing and social media, advertising and PR outreach. While the company is buying national time, franchises also are buying spots in local markets. Online ads and social posts will be seasonally themed to events such as April tax season.

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story identified Debbie Gonzalez as the chief marketing officer. She is the chief brand officer.