Bally Hires La Agencia de Orci for Hispanic Marketing

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Bally Total Fitness has hired La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, Los Angeles, as its national Hispanic marketing agency of record to an account estimated to reach $10 million in spending.

The Chicago gym chain looked at two other undisclosed agencies before settling on La Agencia de Orci. Hispanic marketing work previously was handled inhouse by Bally, a 420-gym enterprise with 4 million members.

"We just haven't done the best job translating our message into Latino-relevant," said Bally chief marketing officer Martin Pazzani. "What we've done is translating the general message."

La Agencia de Orci will create Spanish-language marketing messages to Hispanics in markets where Bally has gyms. The agency is responsible for research, account planning, media planning and buying, events, public relations, online marketing, creative, production and language services.

Bally's campaign kicks off with Spanish-language television commercials in January or February. Other channels include the Internet and, possibly, mail. All advertisements will call attention to a Bally telephone number or the Web site to join the gym.

La Agencia de Orci, a shop with billings of $102 million and accounts like Bacardi, Honda and AllState, will work along with other Bally shops.

Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, is in charge of Bally branding. A. Eicoff & Co. is responsible for direct response TV, Flair Communications for integrated promotions and Initiative Media for planning and buying media. The MWW Group runs public relations.

"The challenge is going to be the integration of all the efforts across the agencies," said Alberto Ferrer, vice president of client services at La Agencia de Orci.

Marketing fitness to Hispanics may work. According to research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control, there was a 63 percent growth in obesity prevalence for Hispanics during 1991-2000. This was 20 percent higher than the non-Hispanic general market.

A Yankelovich study shows that 82 percent of Hispanics say they want to do something about their weight. Seventy-nine percent want to improve their physical appearance and 88 percent want to take measures to ensure good health. And 72 percent feel they should exercise more.

According to the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, only 11 percent of Hispanics have a gym membership.

"There's a huge opportunity for us to convert this desire to do something about it into actually doing something about it," Ferrer said. "The desire's there. We just have to show them the way."

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