Campaign of the Week

21 February 2023

Canal Plus let runners turn kilometers into content 

TV channel partnered with running app and unlocked episodes of popular shows for people who completed fitness challenges

The cold and dark winter months put people’s motivation to exercise to test. When temperatures drop, who wouldn’t rather snuggle under a blanket and binge the latest show than sweat on the treadmill?

To help people do both, French TV channel Canal Plus teamed up with Running Heroes, the most popular running app in France and converted people’s kilometres into free episodes of popular television series. To unlock the episodes, people had to complete these Binge-Fit challenges on the app.

People running 15km could binge the first season of political thriller The Bureau for free. Those hitting 1km five times unlocked the first two episodes of historical drama Marie Antoinette, while running three times for at least 15 minutes earned people the first three episodes of music-based drama Mood.

Upon completing the distance challenges, participants received a code that they could use to redeem free episodes on a dedicated website. The campaign ran from 9 January to 23 January. It was created by agency BETC, Paris.

Contagious Insight 

Trial run / Canal Plus has changed its business model in recent years. It went from being a premium pay TV channel to an integrated platform where people can stream content. Through its affiliate Studiocanal, the Canal Plus group also produces feature films and series. Along with this transition, the brand has kept its positioning around the market-leading quality of its programmes. In our Canal Plus Brand Spotlight, Stéphane Xiberras said that the brief for Canal Plus was based around the idea that you'll never find programmes like the ones on Canal Plus elsewhere ‘because the spirit of the channel is: “It’s pay TV, so if you like it, please pay and if you don’t like it, don’t subscribe, we don’t give a damn.”’

It’s a confident position to take, but the brand still needs to promote the quality of its shows and make sure people check them out – like many other Western markets, France has an abundance of streaming services, each competing for costumers. The challenge is a familiar one, and Canal Plus has a history of creative responses to encouraging trial. In a 2020 campaign, it spotted a viewing occasion for people waiting at the airport during strikes. In this instance, it identified that people binge-watch and exercise in the new year and neatly framed it as a trial opportunity.

No pain, no gain / The new year is a time many people choose to get back to the gym. A 2020 YouGov poll found that half of new year’s resolutions are about exercising more. So, aligning with this January gym rush, Canal Plus provided people with a healthy incentive and rewarded them for their sweat. In short, this campaign is motivational. Similarly to another BETC Paris campaign featured on Contagious IQ where a TV channel planted episodes extracts on subway billboards, it gets people to work for content in a way that makes them feel like they’ve earned their TV time. Also, rather than just giving away content for free, the campaign sustains the brand’s quality content positioning.

This article was downloaded from the Contagious intelligence platform. If you are not yet a member and would like access to 11,000+ campaigns, trends and interviews, email [email protected] or visit to learn more.