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Don't Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Dear Britney Spears,

If I had known you were going to embarrass yourself at the VMA awards Sunday night, I would have stuck around Las Vegas long enough to talk you out of "performing" there.

I was in Lost Wages for only part of the day last week, attending the Planet Fitness/World Gym forum at the Rio hotel. I made it there and back in the same day, too.

Maybe it's time you started to think about re-branding your image, Brit. After all, you're a mother of two now, and it's probably best to put away the bikini and boots for a while--maybe forever.

The thing I learned in Vegas last week is that branding works, especially when you're a company like Planet Fitness, which bought World Gym last year and is trying to re-shape the World Gym image from its Ah-nold, Mr. Olympia days. When I walked into the forum at the Rio, there were logos of both clubs everywhere--and I mean everywhere. There was Planet Fitness, with its Incredible Hulk-looking, thumb-up logo, alongside the new World Gym "W" logo that looks like it came from Wonder Woman's closet.

The pieces of equipment that vendors displayed had Planet Fitness and World Gym logos on them, including a massage chair. Every seat at the tables in the ballroom had either a yellow or blue beach towel draped over it, complete with the company logos.

At each chair, there was a casino-like bucket (I'm sure you know what those look like) that had the company logos on them. Inside the buckets were poker chips with Planet Fitness and World Gym logos, a red die with "World Gym" on it, a red hat with a vendor logo on it, a powder blue T-shirt with company logos on it, two logo-ed temporary tattoos as well as a specially made deck of playing cards with--you guessed it--Planet Fitness and World Gym logos.

They even had custom-made pens and notebooks with logos on them. Packets of gum and water bottles, too. I was half expecting to see logos embedded in the Danish at the breakfast they provided. (The Danish was large enough to put them there, too.) And here's an added touch: The candy dishes at each table included little packets of pain-reliever medication, the kind I'm sure you usually use when you roll back to the room around 10 a.m.

This merger of Planet Fitness and World Gym could be productive, Brit, a lot more productive than your merger with K-Fed, the two kids notwithstanding. It's early in the ballgame, and the World Gym franchisees are still trying to feel their way through the process. Most are taking a wait-and-see approach, which is different from your philosophy: see and be seen.

Take it from me, Brit. The best way to stay out of trouble in Las Vegas is to leave Las Vegas before the sun goes down. No casinos, no clubs, no click-happy paparazzi can hurt you while you're on a plane heading home.

As for dancing and lip-syncing without rehearsing, Brit, just do as I say: Don't do it again.



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