Anytime Fitness Asia: Helping Southeast Asia Get to a Healthier Place
Social Media and Public Relations
A Fitness Arena Dominated by Mature Brands
Anytime Fitness (AF), a 24-hour health and fitness club, entered the Philippines in 2014. It faced a competitive market dominated by entrenched global gym brands that already have established locations in the largest malls and other high-traffic areas. These gyms and health clubs offered their members a single vision to aspire to: an idealized, thin, and muscled body produced by a strict schedule and diet. This narrow ideal was embraced by the market because it’s a simple story that was repeated millions of times.
Breaking Conventions of the Ideal Body
At the beginning of 2017, Anytime Fitness approached M2.0 Communications to rejuvenate its Facebook pages in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. It needed compelling content and a proper boosting strategy to inspire growth and dynamism in its social media community. Specifically, the campaign had to create localized content that took into consideration native culture and health practices.
M2.0 immediately recognized the need to create a counter-narrative to elevate the brand in the fitness marketing space. Instead of the common vision of an ideal body, the campaign embraced the amazing diversity of Southeast Asia where languages and cultures can change from city to city. AF should be a health club for all people of different cultures, body types, and health goals. M2.0 had to show that AF genuinely understood the obstacles people face on their road to fitness. The plan was to have AF help its members achieve real goals – a fresh take on an industry that pushes consumers to achieve a “perfect” or “ideal” body. This new fitness narrative was embodied by the hashtag, #MyHealthierPlace.
Bringing People To Their Healthier Place
To whip the company’s brand perception into shape, M2.0 firmly established AF as a companion in fitness--one that could relate to its members’ personal battles and victories, such as overcoming stubborn post-pregnancy weight, defeating obesity caused by medical conditions, and addressing the need to be healthier through physical activity. All of these relatable stories tied-in the diverse cultural differences in Southeast Asia.
Setting the campaign in motion, the team shared the My Healthier Place series: an inspiring string of videos that fully illustrated the company’s vision of wellness and inclusivity. It validated the public’s demand for true stories—those that broke the conventions of achieving an aspirational body. The series brought to light the personal things members wanted to change about their current health situation: experiences and challenges they faced on a day-to-day basis. Shortly after its release, it trended—garnering 174,700 views and 1000 positive reactions—and continued to spark people’s fitness journeys all across Southeast Asia.
Sustaining this strong initiative, the agency exercised an impactful multimedia effort throughout the campaign: #MeetUsMondays—a series of fun and candid live videos that toured the facilities of local AF clubs and introduced coaches, trainers, and gym members. This was timely and effective as Facebook live streaming grew popular in the Philippines. In fact, 16% of marketers have broadcasted live videos in the past year. Live videos gave the page spontaneity in terms of content and served as engaging platforms -- they made two-way communication with the audience possible, resulting in authentic dialogues. These videos were conversational and encouraged friendly competition among AF clubs in the region, further motivating both staff and members.
The agency was well-aware that crowd-sourcing was a great way to showcase authentic stories from the community. The team encouraged Facebook fans to share their #MyHealthierPlace journey through a contest and uploaded a-day-in the-life videos of the winners to highlight their personal experiences.
To nurture loyal gym members, M2.0 opened partnerships with lifestyle brands that embodied their fitness goals. The agency closed deals with big names like Jamba Juice, The North Face, Uniqlo, Forever 21, New Balance, Cebu Pacific, and Samsung.
With the goal to build a stronger, more inclusive AF community, the team recommended that Anytime Fitness organize a big gathering of fun and lively activities. The My Healthier Place Fitness Fest 2017 took place at the popular BGC Amphitheatre in Bonifacio Global City, bringing together many AF online fans and gym members. To make sure other key cities participated in the festivities, back to-back pocket events were held in Singapore and Malaysia. The event pitted AF members and clubs as well as non-members in a friendly obstacle race and a dynamic Zumba session. The celebration and activities allowed the attendees to experience what it’s like being inside an AF gym.
Ultimately, the campaign’s vision and succeeding efforts brought together a healthy and active community that continues to inspire members to reach their healthier place.
Inspiring Thousands to Find Their Healthier Place
M2.0 breathed new life into Anytime Fitness’ social media pages through the power of real stories. Collectively, AF Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore gained 107 thousand new Facebook fans by the end of 2017. Moving stories of inclusivity were reflected in the activities of the AF social media communities, and they inspired others to be a part of their momentous fitness journey. This movement promoted health and wellness practices among members.
The three Southeast Asian AF Facebook groups received a total of 215 thousand total likes, shares, and comments--a strong testament to the extraordinary collaboration well-engaged communities can achieve and sustain. With everyone involved, members were able to motivate and support one another to reach the same goal: a healthier, more confident self.
While legions of AF members and gyms took part in the Fitness Fest, M2.0 made sure top-tier lifestyle bloggers and journalists were present at the big event. Their colorful stories about the festivity reached two million readers online.
The success of #MyHealthierPlace drove an increased demand for its gyms. By the end of 2017, Anytime Fitness became the Philippines’ largest health and fitness franchise with over 50 branches in a very short time.
But most importantly, the campaign made the first, intimidating step towards healthy living so much easier for countless Filipinos, Singaporeans, and Malaysians. Anytime Fitness was instantly a pioneer in the fitness industry, adopting a unique approach that changed the lives of “regular” people who didn’t know they could.