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The Fitness Experience has hired the Brokaw advertising agency based in Cleveland, Ohio. According to an announcement, Brokaw will provide support to the Midwestern fitness specialty retailer in media strategy, branding, promotion and other creative areas. Brokaw (www.brokaw.com) was named one of the country’s top 50 ad agencies by size category based on revenues in the March 2004 BtoB magazine, its website stated. A new advertising campaign will include radio, print and direct mail, as well as outdoor. Radio spots should launch by the end of November, a statement said, featuring a fictional “fitness guru” called Stanley Fitko who will try to make fitness more reachable and understandable. The Fitness Experience now has 36 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, down from a high of 55 stores after its August 2002 merger with Exercare. Management declined comment for this story.
SNEWSÂ® View: We wanted to tell you more about this campaign. It sounds like an important avenue in helping the retailer regain its ground after what became a tough phase following a much-tougher-than-expected merger. Despite some financial problems, store closings and store sales in the last year, we were pleased to hear the company has still decided to spend the money on marketing and advertising — a line item that a lot of companies check off as the first to cut, drop or ignore when times aren’t as good. Naturally, we called The Fitness Experience management to be able to tell our readers more about this, only to discover that management has decided to isolate itself from any media that prints less than glowing stories about the company. That means SNEWSÂ®, and perhaps others, have been cut off from direct access to the company. What this approach to media inquiries will accomplish is anyone’s guess, but we do know that by refusing to speak to the media, management only ensures that it will never be able to offer its side to stories about the company and its news — news that is going to be published regardless. That’s unfortunate, since having both sides makes for a more-balanced story and gives a company a chance to speak up. As to this new advertising agency and strategy, we really did want to tell you more about how this came about, what kinds of ads it would include, and its goal for the retailer, as well as how it decided to choose Brokaw, which seems to be an agency with an edge and a sense of humor. But â€¦ oh wellâ€¦