Virgin Active calculate commuters’ calories

By on Friday, January 24, 2014


Virgin Active (or more precisely their agency Hope and Glory PR) have put together a cute little story that feels tailor-made for the back to school, slumped over a copy of The Metro vibe that many of us would have had in early January.

They’ve crunched some numbers and found the average commute burns 324 calories. Easy back of a fag packet stuff that even the agency admit didn’t take much work but by appealing to the twin sentiments of festive excess guilt and early-morning weariness they’ve scored a huge return for their work with coverage from The Daily Telegraph, Metro, Mirror, Mail Online and Glamour among others.

The agency coupled the release with some ad spend (including in the Metro) in order to drive the message home and got lucky when it was timed with a business story about Virgin Active from another agency.

Useful to take away from this is the effectiveness of getting something out while your competitors are resting. In this case they not only got the story out at the end of the festive break when many PRs were still finishing off the promotional advent calendar they left before the break, but more importantly, placed the story on Sunday for Monday. The worm well and truly snaffled by the early birds over at Hope and Glory PR.

A really successful bit of work all-round I think we can agree. The only note of caution I’d sound is that while it associates Virgin Active with fitness at a time when many of us are planning on turning over a new leaf, the take-away from the story is that your commute burns loads of calories anyway. You can imagine a few people might use this as a justification for ignoring those guilty feelings after all “I’m working out just by commuting, this gut’ll disappear all on it’s own now I’m back at work.” The headline in the Metro even struck this tone ‘Train at the gym or gym on the train?’. That said, I’m sure the additional exposure more than made up for a few missed customers and I certainly couldn’t spot Fitness First in the news at what must be a vital time for gym memberships.

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