The campaign cycle for fitness clubs follows the New Year’s Resolution cycle, so right now we have new marketing from some of the biggest brands. We use TV commercials and video as examples here because they are the fastest way to communicate marketing and creative strategy. Clearly, other media are involved in these campaigns.

Coyote has some credibility reviewing this, having worked successfully in the category for many years. So here goes…


We’ve called Equinox the ‘Benetton of Fitness Brands’ (see EQUINOX DOES A BENETTON), pitching diversity celebration years before it was trendy. This year’s campaign follows that same tone, with a curious premise that seems inspired by the current POTUS. Though he likely doesn’t know who Narcissus was.

This is a failure to use humour effectively. I just don’t get how this will inspire enough of the relatively small target group that can afford an Equinox membership to generate positive business results.


A new CMO and AOR has resulted in a very different 2020 campaign for GoodLife. No suburban moms here. Instead, this follows the most popular social/cultural/political topic in Canada: diversity.

I’m not sure diversity celebration is what GoodLife’s target group wants first and foremost in a fitness club. Diversity is a logistically tough primary benefit to go with when you have 400+ facilities to refit and retrain. Though there has been thinking by GoodLife on how their clubs will accommodate physical disabilities [1], it’s not clear how gender diversity will be accommodated with old-school binary change rooms.

This new campaign replaces what I consider the best GoodLife has ever done, and we’ve been hard on GoodLife marketing in the past (see WIELDING THE SWORDS OF HUMOUR). ‘Change Your Story’ is a campaign that Coyote would be proud to have created. You’ll get the idea in the first 40 seconds, but for real impact, hang on and listen to what Michael does for a living:

‘Change Your Story’ was a better strategy for GoodLife. This is how you do diversity right. The campaign could have easily addressed all forms of diversity over time. But new CMOs and AORs are never very patient.

Planet Fitness

This year’s campaign stays on the brand’s ‘no judgement zone’ pitch while poking fun at the spin studio attitude in many traditional clubs and boutiques. Definitely HIIT brands like Orange Theory and F45—without the bikes, but they can certainly have the attitude. Maybe even beleaguered Peloton.

This brand knows its current members and who its most likely prospects are. In my opinion, a perfect creative strategy for $10/month Planet Fitness—unique in a relevant way to the target group, with a nice little twist of joy.

Getting Fitness Club Marketing Right

For the 2020s, can we please resolve to get fitness club marketing right? Right for the brand? By following consumer trends rather than marketing trends? With authenticity? I think we can.

Notes and references:

  1. Daniel Calabretta, “GoodLife begins the year with a focus on diversity“, (Strategy Magazine), January 13, 2020.