Anytime Fitness launches in the Philippines, says no to celebrity endorsers

Anytime Fitness (AF), the largest co-ed fitness network in the world, is skipping celebrity endorsers for its expansion plans in the Philippines.

True to its name, AF has an extensive network of 24/7 gyms globally. It has over 2,600 gyms to date, with one of its latest officially opening in Pasig City just last October – its first in the Philippines.

From there, Maurice Levine, Master Franchisee for AF Asia, says that they plan to open up to six gyms not just in Manila but also in key locations in Visayas and Mindanao. But in terms of gaining awareness, he believes that traditional ad staples such as TV spots, radio jingles and print ads will be best avoided.

“We don’t want someone pushing corned beef and then pushing Anytime Fitness. We don’t care about that stuff because that’s not what we are here for. We will be the defiance of that. Because these are not the people that will go to our gyms necessarily,” he said.

AF’s biggest selling point is being open round the clock, giving gym patrons and prospective members little excuse to miss working out. It’s aggressive price point of P2,600 a month also makes it very attractive to budget-conscious Filipinos – though in exchange of amenities like juice bars and coffee shops which Levine defends are really not needed.

But its real appeal is its location, with AF gyms often located nearer to communities or within walking distance of most residential areas - a strategy heavily used by the retail industry in the past years.

Competitive prices and accessible round-the-clock gyms more accessible is proving to be a successful path for AF in the Philippines.

Levine revealed that during the soft opening of the Pasig AF branch back in September, the company has already reached operational break even before the door was open, mostly owed to grassroots marketing, word of mouth, free memberships, the press and social media.

“That is unprecedented in the fitness industry. We are going to do, I won’t say never, pretty much no TV for a very long time. I don’t think we will have many billboards next to the corned beef ones.

“Our endorsers are our members. They are our celebrities. And we will out care our competitors,” he adds.

Asked if they are any threatened by the competition, Levine said;

“I’ll make a bold bet. We’ll double the number of gyms our closest competitor has in one year, much like what we did in Singapore in 8 months. We sold 20 territories in eight months, considering that it only has 4 Million people.”

AF’s biggest competition in the Philippines will be Fitness First, whose PR duties are handled by Campaigns & Grey. To date, Fitness First has 16 gyms nationwide.

“Fitness First is a great gym business as well as Gold’s Gym. They just have a different model from ours. We like to keep our system separate because our target audience is different,” Levine explains.

AF’s PR business is handled by FleishmanHillard Manila, Marketing can reveal.