Everything you need to know about making gym advertising a part of your marketing strategy. With 10 of the most effective, inspiring gym advertising campaigns.

When it comes to getting attention for your fitness business, adverts work. On social media. In newspapers. Or outdoor billboards. Gym advertising campaigns can generate brand awareness and interest.

How do you get started? How can you be certain that investing in a gym advertising campaign is right for your business?

From the how’s and why’s of advertising to practical advice on choosing the right channel. We’ve got you covered!

Let’s get started!

Speak to an expert

Our gym management software experts can help you set up your business for success as you scale and welcome new members.

 Get in touch.

10 impactful fitness & gym adverts to get you feeling inspired

Let’s start with some inspiration! Here are 10 brilliant advertising campaigns from gym and fitness brands.

1. Therapy Fitness – F*CK FITSPO

Therapy Fitness is a tri-concept boutique group fitness studio on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia that list Cycle, Treadmill & Weights, and Hot Pilates as their class types. Their mission is “to bridge the gap between physical & mental health through immersive fitness experiences.”

Their fitness message revolves around the individual’s journey and zero-judgement, which led to the attention-grabbing F*CK FITSPO campaign.

Aiming to smash the stereotypes of a ‘healthy and fit’ person, Therapy Fitness urge their followers to ‘be their own inspiration’ and to ignore the ‘one size fits all’ approach of many magazines and fitness influencers.

The sassy campaign included plenty of coverage on Instagram, including footage of a public cycling class to launch the campaign, where Therapy Fitness trainers passionately spoke about the campaign’s messages.

2. The Gym Group – ‘Gym Face’

The Gym Group is one of the largest gym chains with over 220 gyms across the UK. Providing high-quality, low-cost gyms, The Gym Group specialise in 24/7, no contract gym memberships.

A fantastic campaign from The Gym Group was an ad that was part of a brand platform for the low-cost operator.

Launched in September 2022, ‘We’re with you’ encouraged gymgoers. And broke down barriers for new members struggling to lift the heaviest weight of all in the gym (the door!).

As well as social ads like this Instagram one, it included a 90-second video ad that gave a comedic take on the idea of feeling self-conscious at the gym:

This works so well as the silliness of it grabs the audience’s attention. While the important message, that The Gym Group team are there to support and cheer them on, jumps out and inspires nervous new members to give The Gym a go.

3. Hawera Gym & Fitness Centre – Open Day

Located in the town of Hāwera on New Zealand’s North Island, Hawera Gym & Fitness Centre offers a variety of services for its diverse clientele including a large free weight area, resistance machines, a dedicated cardio area, boot camps, personal training, and spin classes.

To promote their FREE open day to attract new clients, they created a snappy, bright video for social media that managed to fit a tonne of useful information into 15 seconds.

Backed by an upbeat tune, the fast-paced video starts with the company logo and the words FREE OPEN DAY so viewers immediately know what’s being promoted.

Next up is a promise of free sports headphones (plus a picture for reference!) for anyone who joins on the day.

Then follows a long list of the exciting FREE things on offer at the open day, including use of the gym, coffee and lunch, a DJ, a photobooth, and fun activities for adults and kids.

Then viewers are reminded that when they refer a friend, they receive their choice of headphones or $100 cash (again, with tantalising pictures). A shot of the front of the gym sits behind the crucial event date and time, and then a phone screen pops up bearing the company’s social media info, with a call-to-action to message the gym to reserve a membership.

It ends with the company logo one more time to cement that brand recognition. The entire video is slick and professional, yet deceptively simple, with images and footage of people using the gym interspersed throughout. The accompanying copy gives the important info again with a few extra details.

4. Buns & Guns Gym Stewarton

Buns & Guns is a fantastic independent gym located in Scotland. And offers weightlifting, spinning, yoga and coaching.

It’s a great example of an independent that’s effectively advertising on Instagram. The Instagram ad features a 30-second video that successfully gets the attention of the target audience.

Inspiring music and footage show the club as a supportive, friendly place to train. Accompanying post copy is short and sweet. While use of the ad platform’s CTA section encourages visits to the club’s Instagram page.

5. PureGym – ‘Way More Than You Pay’

PureGym is a leading low-cost operator with 300+ gyms across the UK. The chain offers flexible memberships, unlimited classes, and 24/7 access. Plus, a place to feel-good in with friendly teams, like-minded members, and a judgement-free space.

Launched in January 2023, the ‘Way More Than You Pay’ gym advertising campaign ran across multiple channels. Including, social, video-on-demand platforms, TV, print, outdoors, and more.

The video ad effectively grabbed attention with a fast-paced video. And appeals to a key target group – women aged 35+ – as well as the general population.

With three characters transported into a PureGym club, it shows the value for money. As well as the flexibility that the chain offers members from all walks of life.

The ad inspires action with the characters quickly getting into their work out and a ‘prices from’ message.

6. Kingaroy Fitness Centre – Membership Kickstart campaign

A small gym in Queensland, Australia, the Kingaroy Fitness Centre boasts a list of services such as a fully equipped gym, an intro gym program, child minding, and classes such as Pumped, Family Fit, Yoga, Abs, Pilates, Fitbox, Metafit, Functional Mobility & Balance, and Circuit+.

To attract new members they released a ‘Kickstart 2021’ video on social media encouraging potential members to sign up.

With a bold red filter over footage of happy gym-goers in action, the 15-second video displays all pertinent information about the low weekly membership cost and potential savings, as well as extra enticement such as 24/7 access and free group fitness classes.

A reminder of “Only 75 Memberships Available” creates urgency; a sense of scarcity that evokes a feeling of FOMO.

A clear call-to-action is followed by the company logo. This is another example of a small business using a clever, snappy, and professionally produced video to have a greater impact.

7. Gymbox

Gymbox has pioneered a new type of gym experience. With locations across London, the gym chain inspires and entertains gymgoers. Bold branding, vibrant interiors, and unconventional classes. You know when you’re at Gymbox!

(Credit: Gymbox)

An ad from Gymbox always captures attention and challenges the status quo. The brand doesn’t shy away from controversy, which may not suit all owners and operators.

The ‘Cutting Through The Bulls**t’ campaign launched in January 2023 with integrated and outdoor media. And it successfully disrupted the fitness category and reinforced Gymbox’s position as the ‘antidote to boring gyms.’

The billboard and bus stop ads, command attention with bold brand colours and clever creative that mimics graffiti. The ads entertain the target audience, dispelling cliché motivational quotes in a humorous way.

Below is another example from Gymbox that shows the playful nature of the brand.

This clever example from Gymbox shows the playful nature of the brand.

In this paid search Google Ad, Gymbox bids on the keyword of a competitor. Bidding on a competitor’s name is not for every brand. However, this is a creative approach that makes the most of the limited space available for this ad format.

8. Blink Fitness – Casting Call

Blink Fitness is a chain of fitness centres across the US. According to their Facebook page: “Blink gyms are clean and modern with state-of-the-art cardio and strength machines, easy-to-use workout menus and a friendly, welcoming staff.”

In a very clever promotional video, the company staged a casting call using their members instead of models. We see a quick sneak preview of the casting call process as a panel of 3 judges (including actor Dascha Polanco), cheer, laugh, and cry, through the antics, talents, and stories of the entrants.

Besides getting an amazing 2000 submissions to the casting call, the video showcases the company’s motto that they’re ‘not like most gyms’. The diverse bunch of entrants are clearly not your typical fitness stereotypes. They are real, with different ages, genders, body types, and personalities.

As Polanco states, “There’s something within everyone.” A message reinforced by the snippets of dialogue from entrants about how fitness empowers and enables them. The video is fun and enticing, making the viewer believe that everybody is welcome at Blink Fitness.

9. World Gym

Next let’s look further afield. World Gym is an iconic gym brand. Known for serious workouts with large-scale gyms in locations around the world.

Credit: World Gym

This print ad is worthwhile including in this list. It captures attention with humour while getting to the point. Appealing to consumers who enjoy time on the sofa playing video games, the minimalist ad simply tells them to run away. And the logo lets the target audience know where they need to run to!

10. Kayla Itsines – Sweat

Australian Fitness influencer, Kayla Itsines, is Co-Founder and Head Trainer for fitness app Sweat. This Instagram fitness ad is a fantastic example of how to use an influencer platform to reach a wider audience.

A well-shot workout video attracts attention. While the ad copy explains the benefits of the platform and its workouts. The hook encourages take up of a free trial.

This is a simple ad that does a fantastic job of promoting the product without being too obvious.

Advertising your fitness business

There you have it! 10 real-life examples to give you plenty of gym advertising ideas.

Now, let’s look in more depth at the benefits of advertising and how to go about creating an impactful campaign.

How do you attract members to a gym?

Attracting new members is one of the most crucial tasks for any gym business. And it’s usually a core objective of a successful gym marketing strategy.

How do you attract new members? There are dozens of tactics, each with their own pros and cons. You can start a member referral scheme.  You can send emails to a list of potential new sign-ups. Or you can run an advertising campaign.

Targeted social media ads. Newspaper and magazine ads. Print leaflet drops. Outdoor signs and billboards. Investing in gym adverts helps you spread the word to reach a wider audience.

What are the benefits of gym advertising?

It’s tempting to say that all businesses should advertise. But you do need to make sure that spending your budget on fitness ads is the right choice for your gym or fitness club business.

In general, you should consider paid advertising:

  • If advertising fits into your marketing budget and your gym can afford it
  • If advertising fits into your overall marketing strategy
  • If you want to reach an audience you can’t reach through targeted email & SMS campaigns, member referral programmes, content marketing, and/or PR
  • If you want to bring in new members

Benefits of gym advertising include:

  • Reaching a wider audience
  • Raising brand awareness (get seen by new people, grow brand recognition)
  • Targeting highly specific audiences (especially through digital ads and niche publications)
  • Acquiring new members in an affordable way (particularly when you choose social platforms)

What makes an effective gym advertising campaign?

The success of your advertising will depend on your specific goals. Generally, effective advertising:

  • Is memorable
  • Resonates with the target audience with a personally meaningful message
  • Shows how you will fit into a prospect’s life to make them happier, better, more productive, or more fulfilled
  • Showcases your business values
  • Is inextricably linked to your brand, so there’s no opportunity to attribute it to a competitor

Marketing models, such as the AIDA model, can be used to help you create effective gym adverts that get your audience to act. AIDA stands for Attention/Attract, Interest, Desire, Action.

Here’s how to use the AIDA model:

  1. Attention / Attract – Quickly and directly grab your prospect’s attention. Use powerful words and/or pictures to command attention
  2. Interest – Make it easy for your prospect to quickly pick out the messages that are relevant to them. Bullets and subheadings are an effective way to draw attention to key points
  3. Desire – Help your prospect understand how you can help them in a real way by appealing to their personal needs and wants
  4. Conviction – Provide your prospect with hard data or social proof to back up any claims you are making
  5. Action – Be very clear about what you want the prospect to do (for example, visit your website to sign up for a membership)

An alternative to the AIDA model is DRIP. This stands for Differentiate, Reinforce, Inform, Persuade.

How do you plan and run a gym advertising campaign?

How do I advertise my gym? This is a common question for gym owners and operators. Thankfully, planning and running a successful gym advertising campaign is not as tough as it sounds!

The effectiveness and success of your campaign will depend on many factors. Some are outside of your control. And most are down to you and how you plan and create each component of your ad campaign.

There are 8 key steps to cover when planning and running a campaign that will maximise your chances of success:

1. Establish clear goals

What do you want to achieve with your gym advertising campaign?

Generating leads. Promoting something new like a class, piece of equipment, or extended opening hours. Signing up new members. These are all common goals.

Just like when you are onboarding new gym members, make sure the goals you set are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). This will help you focus the campaign and measure success.

2. Set your budget

Consider how much you can invest in your advertising campaign. As well as the cost of running the advert, budget for content and design creation.

3. Define your target audience

This is one of the first things you should decide. Your advertising campaign will be most successful when you target a specific audience rather than all perspective members.

You could target people in your local area at large. However, focusing on a specific group will make it easier to grab their attention. And appeal to their desires.

It will also make it easier to choose the right channel or channels for your ad.

4. Select the right channel

The right channel (or channels) for your gym advertising campaign should be driven by your audience, as well as your budget.

Traditional advertising channels can be impactful and memorable. Although they tend to be more expensive and it’s harder to measure performance.

Examples of traditional advertising channels include:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Billboards
  • Posters at bus stops, stations and on public transport

Perhaps your target audience reads certain publications or visits certain places. If so, traditional ads can be a great way to grab attention and make a lasting impression.

Digital advertising (also known as online advertising, internet advertising or web advertising) offers a cost-effective, data-driven way to reach your target audience.

There are 3 main types of digital ad:

  • Display
  • Search
  • Social

Display ads usually combine images, video, text, and a URL. They are displayed on a network of online publisher websites or a specific website. These ads tend to:

  • Be visually appealing
  • Effective at generating brand awareness
  • Allow you to retarget people who’ve already visited your website without joining your gym

Search ads allow you to appear at the top of the search engine results for a particular keyword. Using a headline, display URL and description you can appeal to the searcher. Search ads tend to:

  • Boost traffic to your website for relevant keywords that your website doesn’t show up for yet
  • Be very targeted as you can attract people looking to join a gym (or for a particular service you offer) in your specific area
  • Look very similar to organic results, which can increase the number of clicks received

Paid social ads appear when your target audience browses social media. Facebook and Instagram are the most popular channels for gyms and fitness clubs. TikTok is also becoming more mainstream, particularly if you are targeting a younger Gen Z audience.

Paid social ads tend to:

  • Grow brand awareness (and even loyalty)
  • Offer a low-cost way of advertising with high conversion rates
  • Provide in-depth analytics
  • Make it possible to reach very specific audiences

5. Create your message

Your gym advertising campaign should have a clear message. At this point it’s about identifying how your target audience will benefit. And how what you are offering is different to similar offers on the market.

Put yourself in your target audience’s position and ask yourself:

  1. What problem do you solve for your prospect?
  2. How does your offering benefit them?
  3. What differentiates you from the competition?

The answers to these questions are your message and explain your value. Supercharge them by finding real-life examples of how you’ve helped others achieve the same.

6. Design attention-grabbing content

Once you’ve defined the message you need to get across it’s time to create ad content that captures the attention of your target audience.

Typically, your fitness ads will be made up of two components: an image or video and copy.

Select an appealing image or video

Today’s culture is very visual. So, choosing the right image or video for your gym advert is more important than ever.

People engage best with other people, so keep that in mind. Think about the emotions evoked by an image to make sure they match the message you want to convey. And consider:

  • Quality – the quality should reflect the quality of your gym
  • Memorability – an eye-catching, distinct image or video will leave a lasting impression on your prospective members
  • Engaging – evoke emotions or memories to connect with your audience, choose an image or video with your exact target group in mind

You could have your own images or videos taken within your club (get permission of anyone featured before you make them part of your ad). If you do, consider investing in a professional photographer or videographer.

And another option is stock imagery or videoShutterstockiStock, and Adobe Stock are great places to start if you have a little budget. Or check out Unsplash for free options. Make sure you have the right licenses or permissions to use the image or video in the type of ad you are creating. And avoid choosing images or videos your competitors have used.

Craft clear copy

Advertising copy is the wording on your advert (or that sits alongside your ad when using paid social advertising). It should be clear, concise, and compelling.

It also needs to do two things. First, it needs to build on your message. Make sure the copy lines up with your message, and your imagery.

Think also about tone of voice and your brand. Perhaps you’re all about having a bit of fun, in which case inject a bit of humour. Or maybe you’re a serious place to train, in which case take a more formal, informative tone.

Second, it needs to tell the reader what to do next. Tell potential members where to find you, how to join, how to take advantage of any offers. This is called the “call-to-action”.

Effective call-to-actions include:

  • Join us now
  • Sign up today
  • Try us for a week
  • Make the change today
  • Be part of it
  • Enjoy a free session on us
  • Book your class now

7. Launch your campaign

Now you’ve got all the ingredients you need for your gym advertising campaign. So, it’s time to launch it across your chosen channels (or on your chosen channel).

8. Measure success (and test where you can)

Once your campaign has launched, you can start measuring success against your goal.

For traditional advertising campaigns, this is typically done when the campaign ends. Key performance indicators (KPIs) to look at can include:

  • Branded organic search traffic (i.e., the name of your business)
  • Use of a specific promo code associated with the ad
  • Social media followers
  • Direct traffic to your website

For digital advertising you can usually tweak and test ads (as well as targeting) as your campaign runs to see what works best. Common KPIs to monitor include:

  • Cost per click (CPC) – how much you pay for each click on your ads
  • Click-through rate (CTR) – the percentage of those who click through having seen your ad
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of people who complete the desired action from your campaign (e.g., have joined up for a membership) having clicked through

The most important thing to consider is return on investment (ROI).

Your investment is the amount you spend on a campaign. That includes the value of the time you put in, the cost of any creative work, and any publishing costs and any management time.

The return is the amount of money you make from memberships sold (or another offer purchased, such as PT sessions) because of your adverts.

If you have a positive return on investment, you’re making more money than you’re spending. Congrats! You’ve planned and run a successful campaign

What are the benefits of working with an advertising agency?

While you may want to keep costs down and run your gym advertising campaign in-house, it can be beneficial to work with a specialist agency.

Advertising and marketing agencies will have the connections and resources to make your campaign successful and cost-efficient. Marketing agencies who specialise in fitness club and gym advertising include COM Marketing (Aus or NZ), Merge Marketing (Aus) or Creative Fitness Marketing (CFM) (ANZ).

Remember the follow up too!

Working with an agency partner will help you free up time. So, you can focus on the leads and new members your ads attract.

The right gym marketing software will help you reach leads with an automated outreach email or SMS campaign. And send timely messages to your new members as part of an automated, personalised new gym member onboarding journey.

The wrap up…

Having a great idea for a fitness ad is just the beginning. Put in the work to ensure the advert you create is part of your wider gym strategy. And you’ll make sure it delivers that all-important return on investment.

Get the basics right. Identify a target audience. Nail the messaging. Choose the right channel or channels. Create an impactful ad. Measure success. Keep testing and refining.

Make sure you’re set up to make the most of the results your winning gym advertising ideas attract with the right gym management software.

Get the fuel to go further. Request a demo to see the value that Xplor Gym can bring to your fitness business.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 24 July 2023

Last updated: 16 February 2024