From 2006 ‘til … God only knows … I used to hit up my local Borders bookshop (remember Borders?). Pocket money in hand, I always grabbed the latest UK and US fitness magazines. Each issue was jam-packed with gym, diet and weightlifting tips from the big-name bodybuilders. I ate it up.
The one thing I remember most about the magazines was the ads. The copy was unapologetically hardcore. And the images? They left me wide-eyed, jaw hanging. I asked myself: “How does someone get that big?”
It was all skilfully crafted, and all about selling products and gym memberships. And it worked. Issue after issue, I saw the same ads repeated.
Hundreds—maybe thousands—of fitness brands were built off the back of those ads. However, the same thing can’t be said today.
It gets worse before it gets better.
Last week I saw an advert for a new Crunch Fitness gym in my area. The headline says (or reads, rather): 2.2 million dollar gym, followed by a free trial throwaway tagline. (There’s not even a picture to see what a $2.2m gym looks like.)
Perhaps Crunch ran out of cash for an ad agency, so the bean counters had to trade their spreadsheets and formulas for pentels and writing pads? Who knows.
This blog post—like many others of mine—wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t go out of my way to fire off a new ad of my very own. Here’s how my version of Crunch Fitness’ ad reads.
If You Find A Gym That Gives You All This For Less $9.95, Sign Up With Them.
Hint: you won’t because no gym in the South-east offers what we can at Crunch Fitness Chadstone.
For $9.95 per week, you can sweat it out in our state-of-the-art super gym. And when we say super, we mean it.
Nine squat racks.
Now there is no excuse to skip leg day. Ever.
Take your strength up a level with our weightlifting platforms and Olympic-style bumper plates.
Isolate each muscle group for size and strength with 25 pin and plate-loaded machines.
Rows of treadmills.
With three rows of treadmills, you won’t have to run far to find a free one, even during peak times.
Even more rows of cardio machines.
You won’t be short of breath after a few sessions on our rowers, Stairmasters, bikes, ellipticals and Airbikes.
From HIIT to Pound, Yoga or Zumba, you’ll find a fitness challenge in one of 13 classes on offer.
Cool down pumped-up muscles on a hydro massage bed or with a Theragun® massage therapy session.
Mates train free.
Whether they’re your spotter, motivator or sweat buddy, your friend trains for free.
When you compare us to other gyms in the area, the choice is clear: everything you need to achieve your body goals is under our roof, at one low price.
Find us on level 2, Homemaker Centre Chadstone. We’ll trim 90 per cent off sign-up fees in May. This is one decision you don’t have to sweat.
. . .
So how did we get on?
I could have carried the 2.2 million dollar line and run with it. But I chose not to. Why? Because your average punter may not know if 2.2 million dollars is a little or a lot to kit out a gym. So this new version of the ad fixes that.
The audience can now see how much value a $9.95 weekly membership buys them. It’s a bucketload more than what other gyms can offer. And there isn’t a whiff of a ‘free trial’ to be found anywhere.
More often than not, fitness advertising looks and feels the same. It’s playing it safe. Those who play it safe come home with the sales results as everyone else. In truth, you need to do the exact opposite.
Your ads need to escort readers from their current state to a new position. That position can be anything — as long as it’s better than where they were previously.
So if your copy is storytelling instead of selling, it’s worthwhile getting out of your comfort zone. It might just mint you $2.2 million in sales. Or, at the very least, 2x, 3x, even 5x your current number of sign-ups.