GoodLife begins the year with a focus on diversity

FCB's first campaign for the fitness chain focuses on inclusiveness and a range of offerings to compete with boutique studios.


Diversity is at the heart of GoodLife Fitness’ latest ad spot: a diversity of genders, a diversity of races and a diversity of physiques. This is in an attempt to stray away from elitism and people with the “perfect body” often seen in gym-related ads, while also answering consumer demand for a range of different fitness offerings.

A 60-second spot in the new “Canadian Strong” campaign – led by FCB Canada, its first since being selected as AOR last year – shows a multitude of activities, but also a multitude of people doing them, such as women punching into focus mitts, or a man with two prosthetic legs doing kettle bell raises.

Sander van den Born, GoodLife’s chief marketing and technology officer, tells strategy that when he first joined the company about a year ago, he says he noticed that the marketing of the fitness industry is “very elite,” portraying the perfect, fit body, as well as being very sales-oriented. He noted how GoodLife wanted to move away from that in the “Canadian Strong” campaign, which is focused more on strengthening brand perception by focusing on diversity.

“We’re truly diverse,” he says, referring not just to the welcoming and accessible atmosphere of the gym, but to how GoodLife has everything from cardio equipment, weights and machines to boutique services like yoga and RPM classes. “It was really about re-positioning the brand, in a sense that we wanted everybody to be proud of.”

The club’s 2018 campaign was more low-energy, centred around GoodLife members giving candid advice to their pre-gym going selves, while 2017′s “Live For It” played on themes of passion and dedication. In 2016, GoodLife’s “Best Yourself” campaign emphasized the point of focusing on “yourself” and the euphoria of reaching your own fitness goals, regardless of what others are doing.

The consumer insights from gym-goer’s, according to van den Born, is that they still desire that boutique-style gym – a “small, intimate, social experience,” he describes. This was something GoodLife took into account when shaping the development and execution of this campaign.

“People are looking at those boutique experiences,” he says. “[They] sometimes have a dual membership – they will have a GoodLife membership and they will train at the local yoga studio sometimes, because they aren’t fully aware of these facilities in a GoodLife in their neighbourhood.”

GoodLife has a webpage that outlines policies and services for members with disabilities, like “allowing members with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as it does not present a safety risk,” and “using alternative methods when possible to ensure that members with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and similar manner.” GoodLife’s site notes that there may be “rare circumstances” where for health and safety-related reasons permitting a member to enter the gym with a service animal “needs to be considered.”

Throughout the hero spot, music from Canadian hip-hop artist Haviah Mighty is playing. The lyrics, like “I’m a champion all day,” speak to a subtle sub-theme of persevering, no matter one’s capabilities, not only during times of an intense workout, but life in general. That message also, according to FCB, “pushes back against fitness elitism.”

“Canadian Strong” is a fully-integrated campaign, with TV, radio, audio-streaming, display and social video ads. The look and feel will also be carried through to digital and email marketing. The current creative campaign will be running until April 26, with UM handling media buying.