When the Jewish Community Center of Richmond decided to implement an advertising campaign, it didn’t go with the typical “hard body” image. In fact, it didn’t use any bodies. Instead, JCC used fruit and vegetables for advertising models. That’s right — food!

Using the theme, “the health club for the rest of us,” JCC wanted to avoid intimidating its market, i.e., people who are in less than perfect shape. Typical ads showing the “after” bodies make people feel as though they would be laughed out of a health club, says Bill Blackmore, director of sports and fitness at JCC.

Instead of showing beautiful bodies bulking up on exercise equipment, print ads displayed a stringbean and a pear with the headline, “The place to get in shape, no matter what shape you’re in.” A second ad portrayed a potato with the headline “The place to shape up an all too common lifestyle.”

By using the pear (representing a pear-shape body), the stringbean (representing a skinny body) and potato (illustrating a couch potato), JCC told adults in less than perfect shape that there was a fitness center that catered to them instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Did it work? You bet. The campaign yielded 240 new memberships, 66 more than the targeted goal. This brought membership to an all time high of 1,957 and returned $10.48 in incremental dues for every $1 invested.