A health club operator in Los Angeles is inviting potential customers to scratch Cher's stomach _ but the pleasure is purely vicarious.

The Oscar-winning entertainer is only displaying her stomach on paper as part of a new magazine advertising campaign by Health & Tennis Corp. of America, which runs the nation's largest network of fitness centers.

The ad in the August issue of The Cable Guide features Cher in a chain mail vest and with a grey patch on her bare stomach just below the navel. Readers who scratch the patch get the message "One Free Week," entitling them to seven days of free workouts if they take the ad to a participating club.

TV Guide magazine apparently could not stomach the ad and has refused to publish it. But Arthur Quinby, marketing director at Health & Tennis, denied it was in poor taste.

"It's leading edge. We don't do things middle-of-the-road. We're trying to be entertaining but also get our message across," he told Reuters.

Cher, 42, has been a spokeswoman for Los Angeles-based Health & Tennis for the past six years. She won last year's Best Actress Academy Award for her role as a widow who falls in love with her fiance's brother in "Moonstruck."