Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alloy Media + Marketing expands into fitness facilities

MediaPost reports that Alloy Media + Marketing will be bringing ads into gyms and fitness centers across the US via their Alloy Fitness Network (which was formed by the acquisition of Vox Visual Systems and PM Communications).

According to the article, "overall, the Alloy Fitness Network reaches 225 markets, covering all 210 DMAs. The new network brings Alloy Media + Marketing into partnership with a number of major fitness chains, including World Gym International, Inc., Contours Express, Powerhouse Gyms, Gold's Gym International, Inc., and Curves International, Inc."

This is a great play on Alloy's part. Most gyms are already packed full of ad-laden stimuli like posters, ambient music and TVs, so directing advertisements or ad-sponsored content with this new system makes a lot of sense. People are already looking for something to keep them occupied and they're there for a long period of time, so it should be a great way to make lasting impressions. The fact that they cover all 210 DMAs should also make them appealing to advertisers looking to boost their national presence.

My guess is that "healthy" brands will be the biggest participants on the network, at least initially, and this is very good for Alloy. Take one look at the prices in any health food store, and it's easy to see that eating healthy is not cheap (but it's probably quite high-margin for manufacturers). Also take into consideration that eating healthy is becoming more than a fad (see the banning of trans fat across popular fast food restaurants), and it becomes clear that by pioneering this technology Alloy is tapping into a market with a lot of growth potential. Just ask 50 Cent!

Aside from just pushing product, the proximity to a location where a specific set of (healthy) activities is happening should also help create brand enforcement for advertisers that want to associate their goods with that kind of lifestyle. It's too easy after a session at the gym to fool ourselves into thinking that we are eating healthy by grabbing Subway or a salad at McDonald's -- we've all been there. So placing ads inside of gyms is a good way for health food companies to grab the attention of people fresh from their workout, maybe play a little bit on their desire to be and act healthy, and offer them good alternatives if they need to go shopping or are looking for a bite to eat.

Of course, McDonald's could also be cruel and pump in ads for their latest multi-stacked burger when people are trying to lose weight. It's just way too easy to rationalize away a 2,000 Calorie, artery-clogging extravaganza after 45 minutes on the treadmill :)

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