Written by:
Iain Brook

Would in-gym advertising put you off your workout?

Why does anyone go to the gym? To get fit? Lose weight? Reduce stress? Make friends?

Whatever your motivation, I’m guessing the one thing you don’t go to the gym for is to be ‘sold’ to while you’re working up a sweat. Well things are about to change…

DW Fitness First is looking at how it can better sell gym gear to gym goers. The company clearly has big plans for its role in the fitness space. Following DW Fitness’ takeover of Fitness First in 2016, it now owns 120 gyms and 90 retail stores and plans to become the UK’s largest sports participation brand.

Teaming up with Nike, there are two clear aims. The first is to bring the gym into stores, the second is to make sportswear more shoppable at the gym. So far, they’ve focused mainly on the first. For example, the launch of new concept DW Sports shops featuring interactive Run Labs (where customers can have their gait analysed) and pop-up gym classes.

But while bringing the dynamism of the gym in-store has gone well, plans to get sports wares in front of gym goers has proved a little trickier. You could say plans have hit a wall (but that’s not uncommon in sporting exploits, right?).

It’s fair to say that ideas are still at focus group stage, where a number of ideas have been touted among gym goers. These include everything from being able to order the trainers that your personal trainer was wearing and having them delivered to the gym, to seeing a Nike advert pop up on the interactive screen of a cross-trainer.

It’s not an easy brief. Any marketing activity can’t interrupt the reason someone has gone to the gym in the first place – to work out. So, the hard sell is most definitely off the table.

However, there does seem to be an opportunity to bring more product awareness via tech into gyms.

There’s also the argument that in-gym advertising would be yet another reason for people not to go to the gym. There are already enough excuses not to go – too busy, too tired, too self-conscious, too crowded, too smelly, too intimidating… Add too many adverts to the list and no one will ever get fit!

DW Fitness First wants to create a seamless customer experience but that’s proving to be as hard as creating a perfectly honed physique.


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