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The worst Valentine’s Day promotion in Dubai

Move aside Romeo and Juliet, Mumtaz and Shah Jahan and Lancelot and Guinevere. Fitness First Middle East's special body fat analysis V-Day promotion puts even the timeless classics to shame.


February 10, 2013 5:58 by

For the past two weeks my inbox has been clogged up with all kinds of Valentine’s Day-related press releases. From special meals, heart shaped cupcakes, diamond jewels, flowers and stuffed animals there seems to be no end to the standard unimaginative promotions brands in the UAE have on offer.

Or so I thought, until I received the following SMS from Fitness First this morning:

“Bring a buddy with you and get FREE GIFTS and BODY COMPOSITION ANALYSIS this valentine week.”

Woah, easy on the saccharine, Fitness First. There is only so much ooey-gooey-super-sugary-lovey-doveyness I can handle (especially if I am going to be getting a body composition analysis in a few days)—and the romance promised by this offer is just too much for me.

Seeing as the promotion is running during ‘valentine week’ it safe to assume the campaign is aiming to get members to bring their better (and fatter) halves in to the gym. The decision to use the term ‘buddy’ might be a result of some strange misguided understanding of cultural sensitivity ala N_K_D Pizza-style.

If my assumption of target audience for this Valentine’s Week promotion is right, I must ask: how on earth did the marketing team decide a giving free body composition analysis would be an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift? I may not be Cupid, but I hardly think the regular Jo or Jane would be flattered by the prospect of spending their Valentine’s Day getting a reading of their own body fat percentage .

Sure, the results may help you answer those tricky ‘Do I look fat in this?’ questions with much accuracy but at what cost? While understanding and assessing one’s body composition is vital to developing fitness, it doesn’t quite hold a candle to building a Taj Mahal or composing a Keatsian sonnet.

Cashing in on Valentine’s Day is an excellent idea for a brand, but why not invest some time in considering what the day is all about. Why not offer a complimentary Salsa class? Or better yet, why not align promotions with fitness related events?


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