Do you think healthy people want messages about healthy foods in a place where they are practicing being healthy? I think so, and so do dairy processors.

Do you think healthy people want messages about healthy foods in a place where they are practicing being healthy? I think so, and so do dairy processors. Farmland Dairies of Wallington, N.J., and Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H., are the latest dairy processors to place their ad messages through an advertising network that reaches into health clubs. The network connects with nearly 4,000 clubs in 49 states.

“While consumers are at the gym, they are focused on their health and wellness, and therefore, are a highly captive audience for products that fit their healthy lifestyles,” says Richard Hirsch, executive vp of the Los Angeles-based Health Club Media Network. Forget about reaching this audience through traditional channels. Health club members don’t watch much television and don’t read the top health and fitness magazines, according to HCMN data.

Hirsch tells me that a majority of health club members, particularly women, go on a regular shopping trip after leaving the club and before returning home for the day.

“We think this makes for an even more robust messaging environment for health and wellness-related brands, including our many dairy brand clients,” he says. Hirsch points to the high coupon redemption rates on tear pads that are affixed to media (like posters) displayed in the clubs. The rates are 10-20 times greater than redemptions of coupons from free-standing inserts, he says.

A two-month campaign at health clubs in the New York metropolitan area for Farmland Dairies’ Skim Plus Fat Free Milk kicked off March 1. The tagline “Mouthwatering (not watery)” appears on HCMN panels with tear-off, instant redeemable $1 coupons. New Jersey-based Linett and Harrison created the campaign.

The ads also feature a QR, or quick response, code that allows consumers to scan the image with their mobile phones for instant product information and details about how to receive free samples of Skim Plus Fiber or Skim Plus with Omega-3. Farmland Dairies is a division of Grupo Lala/Lala USA.

Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos Organic 0%-fat Greek yogurt brand also includes tear-off, instant redeemable coupons valued at $1. The ads promote the organic yogurt as having 0% fat and two times the protein of ordinary yogurts and feature the campaign’s tagline, “Possibly the best yogurt in the world.”

Anne-Sophie Schmitt, brand manager of Stonyfield Farm, says the company turned to HCMN to enhance awareness, drive trial and influence the opinions and purchasing behavior of Oikos among active adults. “HCMN also allowed us to geo-target our consumer outreach to select gym locations that were near key retailers that sell our products,” she says.

Other dairy brand campaigns in health clubs have used more than posters and coupons. Marketers have used digital media, branded giveaways (like water bottles and workout towels), mirror clings and sampling.

Besides marketing efforts, dairy processors need to gain distribution in health clubs whether in vending machines or in club’s foodservice outlets. Speakers at the January Dairy Forum made that point as well as noting the well-documented restorative powers of chocolate milk after a workout.

Dairy processors are finding niche markets to supplement their mass marketing efforts. By doing so, brands tone up their sales and customer loyalty.