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No intimidation "gyms"

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  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    To anyone who may have been living in an advertising wasteland and has missed the fact that PF's marketing campaign negatively targets what they call "lunks" - this one's for you:



    PS: No dog in this fight, either. I workout at home. Methinks their "Judgement Free Zone" campaign is merely a watered-down version of the same premise, though.

    The narrative of all the PF ads I've seen posted on this thread (versus the ones I see on TV, which focus on low price and 24/7 hours) is

    Prospective Customer: My experience or belief about gyms is horrible and absurd thing X. [Lunk alarm is part of anecdote/reminiscene of prospective customer]
    PF employee trying to make a sale: That won't happen to you here. We're not a gym.

    Not sure what TV you're seeing but all the national ads I've seen are the videos posted here which don't mention cost or hours. There may be some local ads that just focus on price and 24 hours (probably the case as not all PFs are 24/7). The national ads I've seen all start with examples of what PF considers examples stereotyped "lunk" behavior. Next, they show the perspective PF member in an almost confessional tone talking to the PF employee who looks at and talks to them like the employee is a grief counselor.

    Not sure what you're trying to imply. I see TV that travels over airwaves licensed to broadcasters. I have been watching TV for many years. I have never seen a PF "lunk alarm" ad. Just ads that focus on prices and 24/7 access. I'm in the U.S., so maybe these national ads you speak of are for some other nation?

    Keep in mind, even if you watch a lot of television, it's unlikely that you're watching all shows on all channels at the same time. It's possible that there may be ads that you haven't seen.

    I'm aware of that. I just keep getting push back on the idea that in my experience these "lunk alarm" ads are not only not the dominant form of PF advertising, they are so rare that I have not seen them. Maybe the people who see them all the time are watching a lot of live sports or ... reality shows or ... cable TV? Things I don't watch much. Interesting if the first category were the one where PF is disproportionately running those kinds of ads -- I wonder why they would think the demographic they would appeal to would be folks watching live sports ...

    Live sports, reality shows, and overall cable TV are a huge part of what people are watching so it makes sense that people don't watch much of them wouldn't have seen the ads.

    I can't be sure where I have seen them, but I think it was probably during live sports (most of the TV in my household is either live sports or local news). As to why they would run the ads there, many people watch live sports and the ads don't break down as cleanly as one might think. You seen ads for household cleaners, toys, wine, Old Navy jeans . . . it's not just beer and pizza (not that you were arguing that).

    I have never seen them and watch sports almost exclusively, but a lot of the time it is on a DVR delay to avoid commercials, so it is totally possible that I am fast forwarding past PF commercials.

    It is interesting if PF targets sports and reality TV shows, because that would seem to be audiences less likely to be intimidated by gyms (generally). That reinforces my belief that pricing and convenience are the real focus of the PF marketing message and that the "no intimidation" angle just draws attention.

    It's also possible that PF uses different marketing strategies in different areas of the country.

    In either case, if a company is using ads to "draw attention," it's clear that it is a conscious part of their branding even if a portion of their ads don't use that particular approach. I don't think we have to agree that the *majority* of PF's ads are focused on how unpleasant other gyms in order to discuss whether or not we think it's an appropriate message. An unpleasant or inappropriate message isn't somehow erased if some other messages are pleasant or appropriate.

    Distinguishing yourself from your competition is Marketing 101. "We don't freeze our beef" "We don't' charge annual fees on our credit cards" "We don't charge for bags on our airline". Etc. There is nothing unpleasant or inappropriate about stating that you don't tolerate intimidation.

    My kid's hockey team has a complete list of behaviors that parents and players shall or shall not do, and if you don't agree to abide by these rules, you don't play for this team. Is it unpleasant or inappropriate to clearly outline and enforce acceptable behavior, or is that an affront to the other youth hockey programs that allow parents to scream at the kids, bang on the glass, and verbally abuse refs or the kids to cheapshot other kids?

    If the message is "you should play for this team because you will encounter [negative behavior] on the others," I would consider that potentially inappropriate (if it wasn't accurate). Touting your own product is fine. Unfairly dragging other products isn't.

    If PF simply stated their rules and guidelines, I don't think this thread would exist. The issue is the picture they paint of other gyms. Keep in mind that in their ads centered on the "no judgement" theme, they aren't showing what is happening in PF. They're actively painting a negative picture of the customers of other gyms.

    Those ads could just as easily (in my opinion, more easily) be interpreted as gently mocking the perceptions of the demographic they're appealing to, since in all the ads I've seen posted here, the negative things that are supposed to be happening in other gyms are posited as the "recollections" or imaginations of prospective customers -- they begin with generally absurd scenarios, then cut to the customer who was "remembering" or imagining this, who says "that's why I don't like gyms." That line makes zero sense unless the preposterous scenarios at other gyms are a story that the prospective customer is telling the PF sales agent. Yet the scenarios are so over the top that no one can be expected to believe they really happened. Everyone must recognize that people are not being involuntarily elevated into dome-style cage matches. This is satire about the fears and concerns of people who "don't like gyms." It's weird that satirizing someone's fears and concerns is viewed as creating, feeding, and encouraging those fears and concerns.

    It certainly would be a twist if all along PF was telling us their prospective customers are to be considered unreliable narrators.

    ;-)
  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,186Member Member Posts: 5,186Member Member
    So planet fitness actually gives out pizza? I couldn't find anything on the website. That's pretty sweet actually :D I'm internally struggling with my decision to join or not to join. I'm really annoyed with the snow and ice and not being able to run outside.
  • jesspen91jesspen91 Posts: 1,186Member Member Posts: 1,186Member Member
    Is this an American thing? I've literally never heard of the term before.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    Doesn't look like they have the same type of promotion in the UK as here:

    http://www.planet-fitness.co.uk/

    http://www.planet-fitness.uk.com/profiles.html

    Which kind of makes me wonder what's wrong with the US!
  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,186Member Member Posts: 5,186Member Member
    ^ That looks like a completely different franchise
  • kimny72kimny72 Posts: 10,139Member Member Posts: 10,139Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Doesn't look like they have the same type of promotion in the UK as here:

    http://www.planet-fitness.co.uk/

    http://www.planet-fitness.uk.com/profiles.html

    Which kind of makes me wonder what's wrong with the US!

    More lunks per capita?

    More people likely to go to management if something bothers us?

    More people concerned about being judged for their appearance?

    A greater perception that sweating/exertion/etc are "private" and therefore greater sensitivity to other people around while this is happening?

    A greater vulnerability to advertising messaging and/or group think?

    Please note: All suggestions offered with varying levels of humor and/or sarcasm. As an overwhelmingly introverted person, I have never set foot in a public gym, but I'm following this thread because I think both sides are making some really good points and I'm fascinated by the thought processes at work here!.
    edited December 2018
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    hesn92 wrote: »
    ^ That looks like a completely different franchise

    Yeah, I think they may give the franchisees more control. [Edit: nope! Not related at all.]
    edited December 2018
  • HeliumIsNobleHeliumIsNoble Posts: 952Member Member Posts: 952Member Member
    I looked into it last time I read through a PF discussion on here, and I think the Welsh gym called Planet Fitness linked up ^ is totally unaffiliated to the US company.
  • jseams1234jseams1234 Posts: 954Member Member Posts: 954Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    hesn92 wrote: »
    ^ That looks like a completely different franchise

    Yeah, I think they may give the franchisees more control.

    It's not even the same logo and I've never heard of a PF that didn't mandate the use of that logo and also the purple theme. I don't think it's the same company... also, in that link they show an oly setup.
  • Kalex1975Kalex1975 Posts: 269Member, Premium Member Posts: 269Member, Premium Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    That would explain the difference.

    In trying to figure that out, I found this: https://www.businessinsider.com/planet-fitness-ceo-says-competition-isnt-gyms-2016-8?r=UK&IR=T

    And this confirms that the US-based Planet Fitness is not in the UK: "Planet Fitness is America’s fastest-growing health club company with gyms in all 50 states and a foothold in Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Panama."

    For further confirmation, annual reports of publicly-traded companies are required to describe their properties. Here it is from Planet Fitness...
    Corporate-Owned Stores

    We lease all of our corporate-owned stores. Our store leases typically have initial terms of ten years with two five-year renewal options, exercisable in our discretion. The following table lists all of our corporate-owned store counts by state/province as of December 31, 2017:

    State/Province Store Count
    Pennsylvania 17
    New York 16
    New Hampshire 14
    New Jersey 3
    California 3
    Massachusetts 3
    Ontario 2
    Delaware 2
    Colorado 1
    Vermont 1

    Franchisee Stores

    Franchisees own or directly lease from a third-party each Planet Fitness franchise location. We do not own or enter into leases for Planet Fitness franchise stores and generally do not guarantee franchisees’ lease agreements, although we have done so in a few isolated instances. As of December 31, 2017, we had 1,456 franchisee-owned stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

    I also did a quick search in LexisNexis for businesses containing the name of "planet fitness" in the UK and found 7 results. There are probably more but appears to be a relatively small amount.

  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,186Member Member Posts: 5,186Member Member
    well it looks like that mystery is solved lol
  • HeliumIsNobleHeliumIsNoble Posts: 952Member Member Posts: 952Member Member
    If they do decide to expand into the UK, they'd have to rejig their USP to meet with success. Not sure how much, but definitely some.

    Gyms seems to be a growing market; a new "no frills gym" seems to open every five minutes locally, but I can't see a 'lunk alarm' getting feet through the door. Just not British. They'd have to trade on the non-judgement ethos in general, and I think the 'wackaging' part of their brand (pizza, etc) might be a winner,

    But tbh, I think there just isn't a gap in the market. If I want to join a gym and simultaneously avoid experienced weight-lifters and getting sweaty in front of people of greater fitness, the whole town is already my oyster.

  • jesspen91jesspen91 Posts: 1,186Member Member Posts: 1,186Member Member
    Yeah I agree. I can't see this type of marketing going down well in the UK. We prefer silent, passive agressive judgement to any kind of confrontation. I suppose the closest we have is Curves seeing as it's for women only and emphasises that it's for all ages and levels of fitness.

    I also agree that cheap gyms are popping up everywhere at the moment. I live in London so it will be different in less populated areas but I have a choice of 6 gyms within half a mile of my flat.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,580Member Member Posts: 1,580Member Member
    jesspen91 wrote: »
    Yeah I agree. I can't see this type of marketing going down well in the UK. We prefer silent, passive agressive judgement to any kind of confrontation. I suppose the closest we have is Curves seeing as it's for women only and emphasises that it's for all ages and levels of fitness.

    I also agree that cheap gyms are popping up everywhere at the moment. I live in London so it will be different in less populated areas but I have a choice of 6 gyms within half a mile of my flat.

    :D
    I have to say I'm disappointed, this whole thread has made me want to check out planet fitness. Looks like I'll have to fall back on my local leisure centre

    edited December 2018
  • SpicyWaterSpicyWater Posts: 87Member Member Posts: 87Member Member
    To be honest, I love Planet Fitness, and I'm really sad that I don't live near one any more.
    It was the only gym I could possibly afford - and I always met the nicest people there.
    On Fridays at 6am there was a great group of seniors that came for a Pilates-style class with one of the trainers and they always smiled at me while I was on the stair stepper. There was this great lady named Linda who used the cardio equipment around the same time as me - she was very, very thin and I found out it was because she did cardio every day to reduce her anxiety and sleeplessness. We made friends with a few other people who were regulars, that we knew by name - and if I missed a day they would ask where I was the next time I showed up. It was huge, plenty of room for everyone. I liked that because we would go outside of the busy hours and nobody was around when I wanted to tackle a new machine. It was a lot more comfortable than my university gym.
    Maybe I do have "gym anxiety". I'm certainly no pro. But it was a great environment that I enjoyed getting up at 5am to go to - and I know I'm not the only one.
  • gradchica27gradchica27 Posts: 423Member Member Posts: 423Member Member
    fishgutzy wrote: »
    PF is the opposite of the "no judgment zone." The rules are set up to judge people based on how they dress.
    The only true no judgment gym i've been to is the YMCA. You will see teens to nonagenarians working out side by side.
    No "lunk alarms." Everyone works too their own level. And they have at least one pool.

    I’m not at a Y, but at a town fitness center. It’s awesome—everyone from high school athletes to moms like me taking advantage of the awesome childcare to big ripped dudes/ladies to retirees drinking coffee to octogenarians using a walker to get from one machine to the next. I’ve never felt judged bc of the wide range of gym goers. I am far more comfortable here than at the PF type place I went to years ago (although those type of places have their niche bc they are cheap. I couldn’t have afforded a family membership here at that time in my life).

    I’ve never felt the supposed intimidation anywhere, but then again I’ve never been obese (only about 30-40lbs overweight, usually pregnancy related) and I’ve been active since my teens, so I’ve never come into it as a complete newbie. I could see my mom, for instance, as much more likely to join Curves than either PF or my gym, as an obese newbie to fitness.
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