Why Asics asked 1,000 people to temporarily stop exercising

Campaign: Mind Race
Company: Asics
Agency Partners: Golin(creative); Solarflare (technical production); UNIT9 and A Common Future (creative production)
Duration: March 29, 2022–ongoing

We have all seen the advertisements that show how good it feels when you push yourself when running and triumph over a competitor or mountain. But what happens when you stop exercising?

That’s what Asics, the running shoes and activewear company, aimed to show with its Mind Race campaign. The company asked 1,000 people around the world to stop exercising for a week and recorded the impact it had on their well-being.

Strategy

The idea for the campaign stemmed from the notion that there “was a lot of conversation around the positives of exercise, but there was not so much conversation around the negatives of inactivity,” said Alex Wood, executive creative director at Golin London.

To shift the discourse, the company partnered with Brendon Stubbs, a physiotherapist at King’s College London, to create a study featuring 1,000 participants from 21 countries, including former Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas.

Tactics

The company used its Mind Uplifter technology to measure participants’ mental state before and after the week of exercise. The digital platform uses facial scanning technology and asks participants to share their responses, on a scale of one to ten, to questions such as: “How composed do you feel right now?” and “How well are you coping with stress?”

The company asked participants to submit their answers before and after the week of exercise.

After a week without exercise, participants’ confidence dropped by 20%; positivity fell by 16%; mental energy levels slumped by 23%; and ability to cope with stress reduced by 22%, according to the campaign.

“When you don’t move, your mind races,” Wood said. “You feel kind of pent up physically, and that energy has to go somewhere. I think all of us felt quite strongly that that was a message that could resonate with people, especially following a couple of years when everyone was kind of working from home.”

The company launched the campaign March 29 with an advertisement that begins with a loud bass thump and shows two people with monitoring devices attached to their foreheads.

“Science has proven exercise is good for the mind,” reads text in the advertisement. “But what happens to the mind when we stop?”

The video features Stubbs explaining the experiment to Thomas and other athletes and people sharing what it’s like for them not to exercise.

“I just can’t function like this,” one participant says.

The ad then again shows the participants with monitoring devices in front of large screens displaying an animation that apparently shows what is happening in their minds after not exercising. Then the ad shares the data from the study and thoughts from participants.

“My mind and my body rely on physical exertion more than I thought,” one participant says.

The video then closes by sharing that Asics’ data shows that slightly more than 15 minutes of exercise can produce “meaningful improvement in people’s state of mind scores.”

The campaign video was shared on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Additionally, a press release about the campaign was sent out on Business Wire.

Results

The Mind Race campaign video has received more than 39,000 views on YouTube; 2,700 views on Facebook; and more than 8,000 views on Instagram.

The campaign received coverage from Metro and The Herald.


This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.

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