UK – January: a time of New Year’s resolutions and gym and health club advertising. Amidst the usual parade of gym bunnies and bright-eyed exhortations, Virgin Active’s latest commercial stands out by making its pitch without a single image of sportswear or athletic equipment.
The health club chain’s cinematic commercial, launched on 1 January, follows a motorcyclist riding through the desert. The biker, a man in his fifties, wears only underpants. The footage is intercut with snatches of found film showing clocks ticking, hares running and flowers bursting rapidly into bloom. At the end of the video, the man stares into the camera as the words ‘Don’t Just Live, Live Happily Ever Active’ fill the screen.
The commercial was created by Karmarama agency. ‘The brief from Virgin Active was to make people reappraise VA and elevate them above the usual gym and health club brands,’ says project lead Sam Walker. ‘We wanted people to look at it and see a guy who is living life how he wants, without fear or restraint. It’s about being active in every way, not just about exercise.’
This inventive commercial reinvigorates a tired advertising genre. For more on the changing face of manhood, see our Re-Con Man tribe.