How gyms are shaking it up this year

January. The month of packed lunches (because we’re thrifty), lime and sodas (because we’re sober) and ambitious gym membership sign-ups (because, of course). This year, in a bid to woo us out of that post-Christmas inertness, several gyms have made original attempts at grabbing the attention of a population brimming with New Years’ Resolutions and fitness goals. Here’s a rundown (pun intended) of two in particular who have impressed us with their fresh approach and refreshing visions of working out.

Virgin Active

Unintimidating, accessible and realistic: Virgin Active’s latest campaign shows a brand positioning itself as a gym that appeals to the broadest possible range of aspiring gym bunnies who squeeze fitness into their busy daily routines, interpreting exercise in their own way.

Enough by Virgin Active (Source: Virgin Active South Africa)

Ordinary people harness their urban environment as an exercise ground as they sprint up the stairs at a train station. Others incorporate elements of exercise into their domestic lives, from bench presses with baby, to squats with moving boxes. With these charming and authentic snapshots that feel true to life, Virgin Active has recognised that most people struggle to find time to visit the gym, and rather than promoting an extreme exercise plan, they encourage us to simply do ‘Enough’. This low pressure vision feels borrowed from Sport England’s ground-breaking campaign This Girl Can, promoting the message that exercise is for everyone in an inclusive and positive way.


At the other end of the spectrum sits trendy gym chain Gymbox, a space complete with nightly resident DJs and audaciously titled gym classes like ‘Sweat Drench’ or ‘Look Better Naked’.
While Virgin Active put people at the centre, Gym Box’s campaign does not feature people at all. Their January campaign borrows from rave culture, with posters that look like they adverts for club nights and a colour scheme that reminds us of the smiley face, that most ubiquitous icon of rave culture. Harnessing these cultural references and visual language, Gym Box targets a radical kind of fitness fanatic, one for whom the energy and vibrancy of clubbing will deeply inspire their work outs. Here, exercise is a release; it’s extreme; and it’s probably hardcore.

January’s Campaign from Gymbox (Source: Gymbox)

It has been refreshing to see these fitness brands stepping out of the box and taking radically new approaches to the world of work outs in a bid to connect with people in more fun and realistic ways. We’re looking forward to seeing if more brands will take an original stance.

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