How Planet Fitness Uses New Year's Eve To Strengthen Brand Awareness

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For Jamie Medeiros, VP of National Marketing at Planet Fitness, planning for New Year’s Eve starts in January.

And it’s no easy task.

The company, which is known for their “judgement-free” approach to fitness, works alongside the Times Square Alliance to produce one of the largest holiday celebrations of the year, incorporating a multi-channel strategy to connect and engage with audiences on the ground in NYC, and across the nation.

“The great thing about our execution of New Year’s Eve is that it really has so many different components to it,” Medeiros said. “It covers this suite of departments on our team, but it really leads up to the brand.”

This year, the fourth for the ongoing partnership, is no different. But as audience needs shift, and engagement drifts towards digital, Planet Fitness is exploring new ways to innovate on established traditions, while expanding their reach online.

When Branding Opportunities Align

So, how does a fitness company get involved with one of the nation’s biggest holiday celebrations? According to Mederios, it’s all about brand alignment — and timing. Before getting involved with the Times Square Alliance, Planet Fitness was searching for event and partner opportunities that would help boost their Q1 visibility — an important time for the organization.

“We really value celebration and celebrating people as they are, and that aligns very well with their messaging and their goals,” Mederios said of the Times Square Alliance. “And so when we started talking to them about potential partnerships, that was where we landed — where everything really fell into place for us.”

At first, Planet Fitness’ involvement was very boots-on-the-ground, with their presence focused on-scene at the event. Now, Planet Fitness serves as the event’s primary sponsor, expanding their reach with broadcast media buys, full-fledged PR and email campaigns, and a smaller partnership with Dick Clark Productions for increased exposure on-site.

“It’s something that takes a pretty long lead time, from the theme, to the development on the ground, broadcast integration, press, digital,” Medeiros said. “It’s a big, big lift for everyone, but it’s really exciting to see it come to life.”

Innovating Tradition For A Digital Audience

Partnerships can often spark the creativity needed to build unique experiences. That’s exactly the opportunity Planet Fitness saw when crafting their “Confetti Wishes” program, a digital campaign designed to engage club members (and potential prospects) ahead of New Year’s Eve.

Participants are invited to submit their hopes, dreams, and goals for the new year on the “Confetti Wishes” landing page, which is promoted through the main Planet Fitness website, social channels, and at franchises across the country. The wishes are then screened (quality control is a must when it comes to user-generated content, Medeiros says) and printed on confetti, which is ultimately released as part of the NYE Times Square celebration. Visitors are also invited to view other wishes, which are displayed as animated “confetti” raining down from the top of the webpage.

The campaign was inspired by a Times Square Alliance tradition – their longstanding “Wishing Wall.”

“It was one of those things we talked a lot about and we really thought was a great extension of the messaging into our clubs,” Medeiros said. “It was something that allowed our members to feel as if they were a part of New Year’s Eve even if they weren’t on the ground, which is really important for us to include our clubs or memberships.”

Measuring Success

For Planet Fitness, New Year’s Eve is all abound awareness. And just like their customers, they care about their health when it comes to strong branding. 

“Our teams are constantly looking at basic things, like click-through-rate and engagement shares, but we also execute a larger brand health tracker every Q1 to help us see if our awareness is up and what is driving that,” Medeiros said.

In 2016, 22,000 wishes were submitted to the “Confetti Wishes” campaign – with most landing page traffic driven through the Planet Fitness homepage. A simple survey asking participants whether they’re a Planet Fitness member included as part of the experience allows the organization to track and identify potential new prospects who are actively engaging with their brand.

“A lot of the traffic is driven from our website, so we absolutely reach out to prospects from our site,” Medeiros said.

Now, Medeiros says the brand is placing a new emphasis on driving engagement through their social channels, with increased investments in paid Facebook ad campaigns to boost awareness.

“We’re really trying to capitalize on our members when they’re already in the online space, as opposed to other years where we may have done bigger in-club promotions or on-the-ground events,” Medeiros said.

“It will be interesting to see how using different tactics and amplifying through Facebook versus an in-club play will affect numbers,” she added. 

New Year, New Directions

With the new year only weeks away, Medeiros already has her sights set on planning for 2019. Next year, Medeiros says she hopes to begin to refine Planet Fitness’ messaging and establishing core themes that elevate brand story surrounding the event.

“It’s about defining a clear theme, and what that theme really means for our brand,” Medeiros said. “We have an opportunity to make a bold statement, and the ability to be even bolder.”

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