If you walk into a new Virgin Active club, you will be greeted by a large wall that reads: everyone’s welcome, young or old, fit or unfit, it’s all good.This ‘philosophy’ is at the centre of South Africa’s leading health club’s new campaign called ‘What’s Your Stuff’.
Nick Clarivette, creative director at Virgin Active South Africa, says: “We’ve thought about the intimidation factor for people who don’t train and what they think about when walking into a health club. There is a perception that everyone is perfect and that they don’t measure up to the kinds of people who use health clubs. As far as Virgin Active is concerned this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“If you look at our members and staff across the country you’ll find every shape, size and age. And when it comes to issues of feeling self-conscious about yourself or your body, the truth of the matter is that we’ve all got stuff - whether you’re somebody who exercises or not! We wanted to put this out there and let everyone know it’s ok. And that’s how we got to the campaign statement. We also have a product that can actually make a difference and not just pay it lip service.”
Virgin Active realised that it couldn’t expect people to share their stuff if the teams working at Virgin Active weren’t prepared to do it first. The staff at the head office in Cape Town decided to be the first to make their issues public by having their ‘Stuff’ printed across their T-shirts in the campaign. “We’re not a brand that wants to tell people how they should act and feel. We wanted to demonstrate our inclusiveness by taking that very important first step and absolutely showing our transparency. That’s why we, at head office, are so prominent in the initial part of the campaign which is currently being rolled out in clubs. We decided to start with us.” says Clarivette.
The campaign, which was conceptualised by the team in South Africa, was received positively by Sir Richard Branson. On a recent trip to the Soweto Virgin Active club in December 2011, Sir Richard shared his ‘Stuff’ too and made his appearance in the local campaign last month.
“Sir Richard’s involvement in the campaign is testament that everyone has ‘Stuff’ they deal with on a daily basis, be it work pressures or hang-ups with their bodies. The goal of the campaign is to start a movement where everyone shares their ‘Stuff’ because this is how we’re going to bring about positive change and put people on a journey to Live Happily Ever Active,” concludes Clarivette.
* Visit Virgin Active for more information.