In this guest post, Val Morgan Outdoor national sales director Geoff Cochrane reveals fresh Aussie data on the return to gyms, plus his thoughts on the importance of ‘mindsets’ in advertising…
Australia is an Active Nation and we have missed our gyms.
We let out a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that health clubs would re-open and the news signalled the gradual return to normality. For many it’s a new ‘new year resolution’; the mid-year do-over which we’re craving after a turbulent six months.
The lockdown period gave us time to reset and focus on ourselves. For many, the missing ingredient was the gym. A customer study conducted by leading Asia Pacific health and wellness organisation, Fitness & Lifestyle Group, revealed 53% of gym-goers felt their fitness deteriorating during COVID-19 restrictions1.
Beyond the physical, our mental health suffered. A gym workout was the routine source of ‘feel-good’ chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins and for many this was not only lost but further compromised by the requirement to isolate at home.
Importantly, advertisers must recognise the value that context and the consumer’s state of mind have on the opportunity to create positive brand associations. A study conducted by MAGNA and IPG Media Lab found audiences are 35% more open and receptive to ads when they are in a good mood (excited, relaxed, focused, happy). With 80% of health club members stating they feel their mood improving while they work out, entering the health club environment signals a true shift in mindset, which contrasts other settings throughout the day, and is a valuable asset to advertisers.
There are few other environments which by their very design cultivate motivation, self-improvement, and action like the health club. The VMO Active audience are go-getters – carving out on average 70 mins of dedicated ‘me-time’ per gym session3. The space presents an unparalleled opportunity for brands to leverage an aspirational yet action-oriented consumer mindset. Audiences visit the club to achieve, explore and escape, and they expect content solutions which integrate into their lifestyle to meet these needs.
Despite a three-month lapse in access there is a unique certainty in the health club’s ability to continue to draw in attentive audiences. The VMO Active network is uniquely located within a setting that meets consumers’ fundamental physical, mental and social needs – and as a result the audience are eager to return.
Utilising DART, our proprietary audience measurement tool, VMO can analyse audience movement within the gym and compare it against a pre-COVID baseline. The WA government was one of the first states to relax their restrictions for health clubs and when comparing the daily contacts over the past week (8th June – 16th June) vs. pre-COVID baseline (Jan 26th – Feb 29th) VMO has already seen a return of 68% of traffic interacting with our screens in WA gyms. VMO expects similar growth in other states and honouring our commitment to transparency, we will continue to update the market in the coming weeks.
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