Fitness First boss appoints media agency without pitch in stand against ‘flawed’ pitching process

Former NetX boss Andy Mallinson has made his first public move since arriving at Fitness First with a brief to overhaul the gym chain’s marketing strategy.

He has appointed media agency PHD to manage media planning and buying plus online performance marketing. He selected the agency without a pitch, in what he said was a stand against the pitch culture.  

Mallinson said: “I made the appointment without a pitch because, in my opinion, the pitch process is a flawed approach to selecting an agency.  It is an artificial environment.  You end up selecting an agency based on the quality of the show that they can put on as opposed to the likely quality of work you will receive on a day-to-day basis.  The latter is best established through experience of working with people before and references from neutral third-parties.”

One of the agency’s roles will be to help Mallinson build a business for increasing Fitness First’s marketing spend, including  broadcast media. PHD will also offer strategic input into the development of creative. Fitness First owns 80 gyms in Australia.

Mallinson’s previous role was as MD at digital agency NetX, which soon became part of the Clemenger Group. Before that he was brand and marketing director of Virgin Mobile.

The appointment comes in the same week that PHD won Pinks Batts.


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