• Transform magazine
  • January 20, 2019

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Enough is enough for new Virgin Active positioning

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Whether it’s mince pies or latkes, turkey or nut roast, the holiday season can be full of temptations to overindulge. It also means January is the biggest month of the year for fitness and gym brands, all seeking to capitalise on New Year’s resolutions, fresh commitments and the spare three kilos of weight added during the TV-and-leftover-turkey days spent on the sofa.

For Virgin Active, this year’s January campaign has offered the gym chain an opportunity to reposition itself. In the past, it has focused on an almost-nightclub like experience in its brand films. The punchy, techno music and active messaging sought to motivate people right into their nearest pilates class or weight room. But, the films didn’t entirely set Virgin Active apart from the other gyms competing for attention. The brand is one of the fastest-growing in the Virgin Group and boasts 45 clubs in the UK, but it needed to reclaim some of its lost brand differentiation.

To do so, it has teamed up with brand consultancy That Thing to embrace its heritage as a disruptor in the market. It has launched a new film and digital rebrand focusing on the strapline ‘Enough.’ Instead of talking about fitness to fitness buffs, the brand is approaching a wider audience with a more human approach.

Anton Brown, chief experience officer at Virgin Active says, “Gyms tend to promise a ‘whole new you’ in their advertising, but they aren’t delivering. Exercise can be hard to fit into your life – between your job, family and trying to have a social life, just doing the recommended amount in a week is an achievement. When ‘Enough’ becomes part of your life, it’s more likely to stay there. We want to share a message that helps people feel good about themselves.” That messaging is intended to celebrate the reality of successful exercise.

Creatively, it’s a playful, light-hearted approach that offers a friendlier approach than previous Virgin Active content. Strategically, it’s similar in concept to Sport England’s This Girl Can campaigns which promote exercise – any and all exercise – as empowering, rather than focusing on targets or difficult-to-to-attain ideals.

The personable approach is reflected on the website, with friendly headlines, relatable imagery and a simpler navigation structure. The positioning will roll out across further touchpoints throughout 2019.