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If you’ve paid any attention to commercial breaks or sports competitions over the past 35 years, you’re probably familiar with those three famous words: “Just Do It.”
Nike’s iconic advertising campaign has headed everything from Walt Stack’s 17-mile morning runs to Colin Kaepernick’s fight for social justice. It’s easy to forget that the ads were originally created to sell shoes — but that’s the hallmark of a great fitness ad.
Strong campaigns create an emotional connection between the brand and the target audience: feelings of inspiration, encouragement, empowerment, and purpose. When crafting the next ad campaign for your own business, it can help to draw on some of the best fitness advertising examples.
1. SOULCYCLE’s #FindYourSoul Campaign
SoulCycle went beyond simply selling exercise classes with their “#FindYourSoul” campaign. This multimedia brand narrative focused on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual benefits of exercising at SoulCycle, and finding yourself in the process.
The company created content around how cycling connects people to themselves and each other. It included video content and ad spots that gave viewers insight into SoulCycle’s joyous, upbeat community. They also created the hashtag “#FindYourSoul” so that their members could upload pictures and share their own stories on social media. By inviting real people to participate, they created a more organic, audience-driven look into their community and why people ride with them.
This is a great example of a campaign that creates an emotional connection between the brand and its customers — and encourages them to take part in physical activity for both health and self-discovery benefits.
Watch it here
2. UnderArmour’s “I WILL WHAT I WANT” Campaign
UnderArmour tapped ballerina Misty Copeland and model Gisele Bündchen to lead this campaign, which they launched in an effort to make their brand more appealing to women. According to advertising agency Droga5, women perceived UnderArmour’s brand as “hypermasculine and, therefore, not for them.” So they introduced Copeland and Bündchen as brand ambassadors to capture a different definition of athleticism and performance.
Copeland’s ad tells the story of the struggles she faced in her pursuit to become a professional ballerina, and how she was able to overcome those obstacles with hard work and dedication. In Bündchen’s, she’s seen training against a backdrop of negative comments — but her focus never wavers.
Watch it here
3. LA Fitness’s “Welcome to Your Comeback” Commercial
LA Fitness scripted and shot this ad to celebrate the comebacks within individual’s health or fitness journey. They’re unique, sometimes grueling, and they can happen in short steps backward or in leaps and bounds forward — but they’re always meant to be celebrated. And that’s the spirit of this commercial.
To start the ad, we see a young woman tying up her sneakers and heading into the fitness center in the early morning hours. As she stretches into a pose during a yoga class, a voiceover says: “My comeback is just beginning.” As the commercial progresses, we see other people taking part in other fitness activities as part of their individual comebacks. The message is clear: LA Fitness is here to support you no matter where you are on your health journey.
Watch it here
4. Adidas’ “Impossible is Nothing” Campaign
Adidas’ “Impossible is Nothing” campaign began in 2004 and highlighted the perseverance of athletes like Muhammad Ali and David Beckham. In their ads, these athletes were shown overcoming seemingly impossible odds to become legendary in their respective sports. The ads were highlighted by bold narration like, “Impossible isn’t a fact. It’s an opinion.” The message was clear: If you work hard, you can achieve anything.
Similar to Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, this campaign has evolved from that initial ad throughout the years to include multiple professional athletes and creative ads. A recent video ad titled “The Original Impossible” showcases a stream of babies, toddlers, and children being told they can’t do this and they can’t do that. The ad culminates with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, featuring what’s possible for people to achieve despite our universally low starting point.
Watch it here
5. Puma’s “Forever Faster” Campaign
Puma’s “Forever Faster” campaign was launched in 2014 and featured legendary athletes like sprinter Usain Bolt, soccer player Mario Balotelli, and golfer Lexi Thompson. It served as a rallying cry for people who are passionate about sports and fitness, while emphasizing Puma’s commitment to speed and performance.
The centerpiece of this campaign was a slightly risque video featuring Bolt and Balotelli in a hot tub, interspersed with shots of them and the other athletes training and competing. The narration was focused on the idea that “faster” is all about being bold, confident, and pushing the limits. This campaign successfully highlighted Puma’s commitment to innovation, creativity, and excellence — something that resonates strongly with its customers.
Watch it here
6. Crunch Fitness’s “The Fun Never Stops” Commercial
Crunch Fitness’s “The Fun Never Stops” ad was launched in 2020, and it aimed to show off the uniqueness and inclusivity at their gyms. The company sought to highlight their humorous and upbeat atmosphere where members have fun while also challenging themselves and reaching their goals.
The ad doesn’t include any celebrity endorsements, but the script is a little quirky and there are plenty of smiles shown on camera. The commercial also highlights just how many classes they offer — showing there is truly something fun for everyone at Crunch.
Watch it here
Consider Creative Partnerships to Advertise Your Services
Fun videos, famous spokespeople, and coordinated campaigns aren’t the only successful ways to advertise your fitness center or brand. You can also partner with other companies to tap into brand new audiences who might not otherwise hear about your gym or fitness center.
For instance, corporate workers might receive wellness perks through their employer — an excellent incentive to hit the gym! Companies like Gympass allow you to join their network of fitness studios and centers, so that when workers sign up, you’re right on the list of options to choose from.
It’s a great opportunity to advertise across different channels and introduce your fitness brand to first-time fitness goers. Corporate fitness budgets are on the rise, and 70% of Gympass members are signing up for a fitness membership for the very first time. Learn how partnering with our platform can unlock new revenue streams for you!
- Spot Nike 1988. Runner’s World Italia. (1988.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_xozTo6wrU
- Nike / Dream Crazy (United States). AdTV. (2018.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW2yKSt2C_A
- Find your SOUL. SOULCYCLE. (2016.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJncd6VYJe8
- Under Armour: I Will What I Want. Droga5. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://droga5.com/work/under-armour/
- Misty Copeland – I WILL WHAT I WANT :30. Under Armour. (2014.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtX91YGaBXw
- Welcome to Your Comeback at LA Fitness. LA Fitness. (2022.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNzr1vMXnOg&t=28s
- adidas Impossible is nothing 2004. Sz9. (2010.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piI3cJ_qilM
- Patrick Mahomes | The Original Impossible | adidas. (2023.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TAZDlpHKKQ
- Reidy, Chris. (August 8, 2014.) Puma launches ‘Forever Faster’ marketing campaign. Boston Globe. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/08/08/puma-launches-forever-faster-marketing-campaign/zHpzKZmxG8MVvFvWuJegFM/story.html
- Forever Faster | Calling All Troublemakers ft. Usain Bolt,Mario Balotelli and Others | PUMA. David Jr. (2014.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC3slFbgMyw
- The Fun Never Stops – Crunch Fitness Commercial 2020. Crunch Fitness. (2020.) YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2023 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gyQD5Xteas