The smash horror movie franchise 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' was the inspiration for Virgin Active's in-house advertising team to address a key trading period for the chain, the onset of summer and the fact that most people put on weight during winter.
The ad features a woman in her twenties apparently hiding in a closet, which is actually a changing cubicle in a boutique. The muffled breathing and anxious face of the actress spoofs a familiar set-up from a horror movie. She turns towards the mirror to find a 'post-it' on the mirror saying, "I know what you weighed last summer". The wide shot then shows the woman trying to button up a skirt which is obviously one size too small, but most probably the size she wore last summer.
Virgin Active's horror genre campaign is being rolled out predominantly in cinemas on 150 screens, but has been extended to other media and executions as well. Radio spots on national and regional stations, outdoor billboards, flyer distribution and posters in each of the group's 77 health clubs nationwide, further support the campaign.
Tim Carter, General Manager of Marketing for Virgin Active South Africa, heads up the company's in-house advertising agency team of four art directors, one copywriter and a production manager. "Virgin Active took the decision to bring all advertising in-house as it ensures fast turnaround times, it fits with our economic model and it also allows employees to immerse themselves in the Virgin Active brand," says Carter.
"Informal feedback of the campaign has been excellent," says Carter. "We heard amazing reports of spontaneous laughter in cinemas and heard quite a few people talking about the radio ad, which is a good indication of the impact and memorability of the campaign," added Carter.