The company, which has 61 clubs in the UK and continental Europe, is putting £2 million behind the new initiative. It supersedes the current arrangement under which all creative work has been handled in-house.
For M&C Saatchi, the win is the result of a new business strategy which has set out to augment its portfolio with some modest-spending clients which present interesting strategic and creative possibilities.
Its appointment follows a direct approach to Holmes Place bosses by the agency. The company, which also had discussions with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, appointed M&C Saatchi without a formal pitch and on the strength of its strategic recommendations. Media planning and buying remains with Allied Media.
The new advertising, using TV, radio and posters and due to break at the end of the year, will exploit the fact that only 6 per cent of the population are health club members.
The campaign, aimed at professionals of both sexes, will talk mostly to people who are reluctant to join health clubs because they think they are full of fitness fanatics and will find the atmosphere intimidating.
Mario Pederzolli, the Holmes Place marketing director, said: "M&C Saatchi will spearhead an aggressive new marketing strategy, enabling us to further develop our brand and attract and retain members."
Carrie Hindmarsh, the agency group account director on the business, said: "We want to bring to Holmes Place the same level of energy and creativity that they have invested in themselves."