Gold's Gym unveils new home line with Bowflex-like gym

In a move that not only will take the Gold's Gym name into homes, but also will go head-to-head with the Bowflex, Gold's Gym has launched its new home training line with a home gym.
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In a move that not only will take the Gold's Gym name into homes, but also will go head-to-head with the Bowflex, Gold's Gym has launched its new home training line with a home gym.

The home gym resembles the Bowflex in its construction and manner of use, but also in the look and feel of its TV ads, as well as the fact that it will initially be sold only direct-to-consumer via an 800 number on television commercials or the company's web site.

The home gym, called the PowerFlex, is the lead item of the equipment line expected to include 15 pieces done in partnership with Icon Health & Fitness. The line will also include accessories, such as gloves and belts. A few items are just arriving at retail, but more will come for the holiday season, said Ed Powderly, Gold's vice president of product licensing. All the equipment will be middle- to high-end, he said, since that's what the consumer expects from Gold's. The PowerFlex will retail for $599-$899, depending on the package.

The goal of leading off the line with a TV piece is to push the Gold's name for home equipment quickly into the public's eye, particularly in time for the coming busy 4th quarter holiday season and the 1st quarter New Year's season.

"The idea is to have a TV item to get our brand name in front of the consumer," Powderly said. "We'd like to take on that (Bowflex) consumer."

The ad -- with similarity to The Nautilus Group's Bowflex spots in camera angles, backdrop, close-ups on chiseled bodies, and driving music -- is very "benefit-oriented," Powderly said and is only similar to Bowflex because both are targeting the same consumer (18-35 year olds that want to look good) that is attracted to the same kind of advertising.

"The audience is looking for something that is really hot and inspirational," Powderly said. "I can reach my goal, and maybe I can look like the people in the commercial too."

Nautilus Group's president of its direct division Randy Potter did not return calls or emails for comment on the similarity.

Powderly said the ad rolled out in test markets in August and nationally in September.

"We're excited to be in the consumer market," he said. "We're trying to make more consumers aware of the Gold's Gym brand."

SNEWS View: The Nautilus Group has maintained that the construction of the Bowflex because of patents cannot be imitated -- even when the patents expire because of the engineering the company has done to perfect it. That could be true, but it's also true that some people will give up a little to save a little money too. It is possible that the slowing in sales for Bowflex, which some analysts have blamed simply on market saturation, could slow more with some competition from a company like Gold's that can stick-to-it when other knock-offs have simply fallen by the wayside. The Gold's name is a solid one that, like Nautilus and Schwinn (both by chance owned by Bowflex parent Nautilus Group) is recognizable even to the non-exercising public.

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