By Mark Tungate
With gyms and pools closed in many places around the world, brands are finding new ways of helping us keep fit.
It’s more important than ever to stay healthy and build a fortress-like immune system. But gyms and swimming pools have been shut for months – and it’s not always easy to exercise indoors. Fortunately, a number of brands from both inside and beyond the world of sport have stepped in to help.
First of all, how about working out with Thor? Or at least with actor Chris Hemsworth, who plays the legendary hero in the Marvel movies. He’s launched his own fitness app – and being Australian, he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Even during lockdown, a morning run is still an option. The hardest part is dragging yourself out of bed in the first place. Here’s a neat solution from BBH Singapore: an exercise app that’s also an entertainment platform, turning every run into an immersive story with you as the hero. Just call it “enter-training”.
How about training to help others? FCB Canada and light beer Michelob Ultra came up with a brilliant initiative that transformed burned calories into food for those in need. As users tracked the calories they’d burned on an app, the brand donated the equivalent number in the form of contributions to food banks. The app was launched just before the pandemic – but soon became popular with people working out at home.
Here’s a similar project from China – but this time, runners’ speed was converted into a currency that allowed them to exclusively purchase a flashy new pair of Nike sneakers.
Maybe you don’t need a sophisticated digital form of motivation. What if going out for a run was simply a way of shrugging off all the problems that frustrate you when you’re stuck at home? A neat insight that drives this ad for Australian sportswear brand Rebel Sport.
Home exercise bike and treadmill maker Peloton is a lockdown success story: it even had problems delivering enough products to keep up with demand. Each bike and treadmill comes with a touch screen on which you can stream fitness classes.
If you don’t have the money to splash out on an expensive new exercise machine, perhaps the right pair of shoes will help? Here’s an ad for French online footwear retailer Sarenza, in which a relatable home exerciser is boosted by her new “baskets” (as the French call sneakers). The hardest part is keeping them clean, says the end line.
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Talking of relatable, far too many sports-oriented ads show impossibly fit and muscular athletes, while most of us don’t look like that at all. Sport England is a public organisation that strives to unite communities through sport and fitness. Its first ad featured refreshingly “real” women practicing sport. The sequel appeared in 2020 – and when the pandemic hit, the organisation set up a coronavirus support hub, which includes advice on exercising at home.
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So, what are you waiting for? Get out from behind your screen and do some exercise.
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