his youth and at the beginning of his career as a bodybuilder, Arnold didn’t really know that many people around as he came from a small town within Austria. He knew that in order to have a shot at becoming famous he would need to move into a big city such as Munich. After some time he even opened his own Gym, but the problem at the time was that people weren’t that much into working out, especially in gyms, therefore the lack of customers made him worry.
At the time, advertising was quite expensive, and we all know that gyms (at least back in the day) do not generate that much revenue. What Arnold needed is customers, loyal customers that come there with a single purpose, and that is to look like Arnold.
What better way to attract customers but by showing the end result they could obtain by using your service? So Arnold put his underpants on and went for a walk around central Munich in order to promote his own gym.
At that period of time, bodybuilding was still a quite new sport which Arnold would go into later on changing it into an “Iron Sport”, setting the stone to actually build a whole industry out of bodybuilding. When people saw this titan of a man with a muscular body like out of cartoons they could not believe it was real.
Most importantly they could not believe that such a goal was achievable. This is where Arnold stepped in to promise them that if they would come to his gym, follow a strict training routine and work hard every day, they would not become like Arnold, but even bigger and better.
Direct marketing, especially for local businesses such as these, is still one of the most efficient ways to attract lots of attention in a short period of time. However, you need to be unique, just like Arnold here. Maybe seeing people walking around in their underpants is more common in 2020, however, back in the 1960s it was very uncommon, so seeing a man that is not only in his underpants but also extremely muscular.
Mr. Universe walked down the street, attracting the attention of intrigued Munich residents. He made his poses from time to time. In one place near the market, an elderly woman tried on the hardness of Arnold’s biceps and the people of Munich appreciated what was happening. Only one woman drew her son off so that he would not imitate “this monster”.
Justifying that bodybuilding was still a bit on the taboo side at the time. But nevertheless, you can’t have everyone appreciate the same things.
This is also about the courage it takes to go forward with direct marketing, as, just as shown above, it can backfire. Therefore, Arnold also took a risk of having a lot of negativity brought towards him, which would not only empty his gym for good but might have ruined his whole career as a bodybuilder.
So this concept of direct marketing becomes more personal where you can either be launched towards success as a physical person or pushed down to ruin. It really goes to show that successful people always show this courage to go out there and portrait to the public their passion for their craft, sport, or whatever they love to do.
This small, but extremely effective direct marketing event had not only filled up Arnold’s gym but also launched bodybuilding to become at the attention of the whole German nation.