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Successful Campaigns in Gym Advertising: Part 2

In this article, we take another look at successful gym advertising from some giants in the industry. Looking at these campaigns helps you in your efforts to sell more memberships and increase member loyalty through more effective advertising.

Throughout these campaigns, you will find that each one perfectly pertains to the demographic of people you would expect to see at each gym. The mediums chosen for each campaign’s deployment also ties in with the most trafficked source of media for each group.

Overall, these gyms have identified their target audiences and have delivered thoroughly crafted messages expressing the values of the gym. The messages have been carefully delivered through ads with imagery and dialogue that connects with the audiences of the gym.

Though, let’s circle back to the featured image. What does that image alone portray about that particular gym? To me, it says members of this gym possess a sense of tenacity and strong will. In return, this attracts those who hold the same values. Now let’s see how industry giants use imagery and message to their advantage through gym advertising.

Equinox “Commit to Something”

In 2017, Equinox, a club more than a gym, made a progressive leap in its advertising with images of self-dedication and developing identity. The women in the ads represent the character and the values It wants its members to possess.

The photographer of the shoot for the ads carries an esteemed title in the high fashion and luxury community. Of course, the advertisements themselves reflect this nature of affluence and refined, yet unconventional lifestyles. In one image, we see a woman getting tattooed over her double mastectomy. In the other, we see a woman in high fashion among a greenhouse full of cannabis plants.

Check out the ads here.

Understanding how this advertising campaign was successful requires you to look at two pieces. First, we need to understand the types of audiences they want to attract. What gaps is Equinox filling in its member demographic that it best feels it can attract?

Second, who is already attracted to the gym? Can more members of this demographic become attracted to the Equinox lifestyle?

From there, Equinox then targeted and utilized trends in pop culture (tattoos and cannabis) to attract its audience. The messages of identity and dedication was constructed through these trends.

However, in the deeper contexts of these ads, Equinox shoots for resilience and only portrays women. Is this an ode to female empowerment or is this a hint at female attraction? You decide. According to Insider in 2015, “The average age of an Equinox member is 35. Gender is split down the middle. “

The nature of the demographic and the still imagery made this campaign perfect for print and social advertising. These days, broadcast and cable television are viewed by 61% of millennials. This is significantly less compared to the 90% of people over 38 that consume broadcast media. Though it’s difficult to say how often the high-status members of Equinox tune into cable TV.

Even if you didn’t know that the average membership cost sits around $165 and the top costs $1250 (including initiation fees) to begin with, then you would probably get the high-class memo from the ads. Regardless, the advertisers do their job well in representing Equinox values and experience.

Gold’s Gym Valentine’s Day Cards 2021

What better way to get more eyes on your gym than creating some humorous Valentine’s Day cards that ode to strength training. With the ability to share memes and make a joke about just about anything through social sharing, Valentine’s Day is equally humorous these days as it is romantic. Thus, Gold’s Gym saw the colliding of these two worlds as an opportunity to raise brand awareness and recognition.

Because of the focus on how sharable Valentine’s cards are, this campaign was employed through social media. Aside from paying the people featured in these Gold’s Gym Valentine’s Day cards, this was a relatively cheap advertisement opportunity.

At the same time, they capitalized on increasing brand loyalty for sharing humorous images, or “cards”, of plays on strength training terminology. In a sense, the members of Gold’s Gym feel understood through these community-specific jokes. On the topic of community-specific messaging, it’s important to note that Gold’s Gym relies on this community for the majority of its membership sales.

The outsider clearly understands that these gyms provide a serious place for fitness and hardcore training. After all, bodybuilders often choose Gold’s as their second home. The imagery in advertising, and in past advertising insensitivity (Example 1, Example 2), discourage the average person from signing up. This is not to say that the imagery is entirely ineffective for the audience that Gold’s Gym attracts.

In fact, it’s more likely that this imagery (as pictured above) makes people feel much more motivated to improve their fitness and their physique. In return, this keeps members loyal and dedicated to exercising more in order to look like the guy who “snatches” hearts.

Crunch Fitness “The Fun Never Stops” Campaign/Messaging

Crunch delivered on-brand gym advertising at the beginning of 2020 to attract audiences that other gyms like Gold’s or Equinox have no desire to cater to. As we covered before, both of those gyms segment themselves out to the audiences attracted to niches of fitness. On the opposite, Crunch casts a broad net over the market catching the stragglers that don’t fit into niche fitness.

“Throughout our 30-year history, irreverent humor has been a part of our storytelling, and we continue that tradition with this new campaign,” says Chad Waetzig, EVP of Crunch Fitness marketing, to The Drum, “We want everyone to see that working out doesn’t have to be a drag.”

The Fun Never Stops Campaign Crunch Fitness 2020 - Gym Advertising Campaigns
The Fun Never Stops Campaign is a quirky take on exhibiting the fun, non-judgemental atmosphere at Crunch Fitness

The issue of eliminating peer judgment from the environment still reigns over the industry. Therefore, many gyms and club owners are shifting the narrative to a more wellness and health-focused narrative than pain for gain.

I Bet I Can

Previously, in 2019, Crunch published another campaign called “I Bet I Can“. This campaign series follows a guy with a wonderful mustache and an average body type. In the ads, the mustache does most of the flexing. Without going too deep into the idea and the message, he can do anything with his glorious, unique mustache. Essentially, the idea is to show we all have a winning quality but that doesn’t mean we are lesser in any way. Thus eliminating judgment in a fun, eccentric way.

I Bet I Can Ad from Crunch Fitness
An eccentric take on promoting a fun, non-judgmental fitness environment.

We’ve covered many times before the importance of creating an effective fitness culture at your gym and Crunch accomplishes this well. These gym advertising campaigns exemplify the voice and personality of Crunch Fitness. Of course, these quirky characters are not going to affect your local Crunch’s environment. They do, however, instill and elaborate on the overall values of the gym franchise.

Final Thoughts

Gym advertising is powerful for many reasons. Gyms and studios alike can benefit tremendously from well-planned and creative ads. Through them, are fun, exciting opportunities to share the character and the values of the gym in its entirety. Potential members and current members will always appreciate and hold your gym’s brand in higher regard if they can get a strong sense of the culture and community it has to offer.

For Equinox, its a challenge to become more dedicated to yourself and your health. It asks the viewer to make a commitment and shows two women who have committed to their lives and the embellishing of them. Gold’s has a similar notion, but less on lifestyle and more on the physical impression of fitness. Lastly, Crunch offers a place to have… fitness fun?

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