Asics promises weight loss to bring body positivity to those who need it most 

Sportswear brand uses 'weight loss' exercise videos as a Trojan horse to deliver upbeat mental health message

According to sports apparel and footwear brand Asics, people are increasingly seeking out weight loss content on social media.

Despite the rise of the body positivity movement, searches for ‘weight loss exercises’ have increased by 552% in the last year, and searches for ‘quick weight loss’ are up by 581%. And the number of videos dedicated to exercise and weight loss has more than doubled.

Meanwhile, Asics’ research shows that shows that 42% of adults feel that seeing ‘rapid weight loss’ content makes them feel insecure and negatively impacts their mental health, while 70% say that seeing weight loss content on social media doesn’t motivate them to exercise. 

In June 2024, Asics launched a UK campaign to challenge the societal pressure to lose weight. Working with Golin, London, the brand partnered with key body positivity influencers to create a series of 15-minute exercise videos focused on the mental benefits of movement.

Asics titled the videos 15 Minute Weight Loss so that people searching for that type of content would find its body-positive alternatives, designed to take weight off viewers’ minds. 

The insight for the campaign was based on the findings of a global Asics study conducted by Professor Brendon Stubbs from King’s College London, that just 15 minutes and nine seconds of physical activity is enough to start to experience the positive mental benefits.

Contagious Insight 

Distinctly different / Asics has carved out a space in the sportswear category that directly links back to its name: an acronym for the Latin phrase ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ (healthy mind, healthy body). Through campaigns like this (and previous work such as Mind Games, Dramatic Transformation and Training AI), Asics has consistently challenged societal pressures around body image, health and fitness, establishing a distinctive positioning in the crowded sportswear category. Lots of brands have explored mental resilience in the context of sports and fitness, but Asics takes a gentler, less performance-based approach to movement. As well as helping the brand stand out from the crowd, this strategy democratises fitness (quashing ‘gymtimidation’ fears) and frames the brand as one for everyone, no matter your fitness level.

While the iron is hot / This is a timely campaign that positions Asics’ long-running, positive platform around movement and mental health as an antidote to a toxic news cycle. Over the past two years, weight loss has trended both on social media and on mainstream news, thanks to the popularisation of weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy and the supposed return of the ‘heroin chic’ look. The Ozempic hashtag on TikTok has reportedly surpassed 1 billion views, with the app announcing in May that it would be cracking down on Ozempic and weight-loss-based content. ‘We want TikTok to be a place that encourages self-esteem and does not promote negative social comparisons,’ reads the company website. Asics’ campaign intercepts the weightloss buzz without comment or criticism – it’s an additive idea that inserts the brand into a cultural conversation in a positive way. With TikTok increasingly used as a search engine and people at risk of mis- and disinformation online, Asics’ research-backed, unsensationalised content about the mental benefits of moderate exercise is much needed.

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