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How Asics proved the link between physical and mental health


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 8, 2022 | 6 min read

Golin for Asics won at The Drum Awards for PR 2022 for Best PR Campaign for an International client and Fashion, Health, Beauty, and Luxury. Here, we find more about its ‘The Mind Race’ mental health project.

ASICS 'Mind Race' campaign by Golin

Asics 'Mind Race' campaign by Golin

In a bid to prove the link between exercise and mental health, sportswear brand Asics convinced athletes to stop exercising and tracked how this impacted their mental states. The experiment showed exactly what not exercising does to our minds and in doing so sparked a global debate around exercise and wellness.

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The brief

Asics thought the 'exercise is good for you' conversation had become stale and obvious. To get people moving the link between physical and mental had to be reinforced.

The objective was to increase awareness and inspire people to exercise for their mental health. The brand was looking for measurable changes in brand awareness and to show the public that Asics is a company that supports mental health. Golin was also expected to deliver a sales uplift, along with improved brand equity and reputation scores.

The idea

The team at Golin thought if you could visualize exactly how physical inactivity affects everyone’s mind and then highlight exercise as the antidote that would deliver Asics’ brief.

With a small budget, ‘The Mind Race’ was developed. The idea was to ask thousands of runners and an ex-Olympian to track their mental state across a week of inactivity using ‘Mind Uplifter’ technology. After one week, live data mapping visualized the athlete’s mind states it showed drops in confidence (20%), positivity (16%), stress tolerance (22%), mental energy (23%) & a 23% increase in racing thoughts.

A documentary was then produced following the athletes' experience participating in the study. Clips and stills from the film were sent to the media outlets along with the full scientific findings. Journalists, professional athletes, and influencers were also encouraged to participate and share their results on their social channels with the #asicsmindrace.

The results

During the campaign, a YouGov study named Asics one of the Top 10 Biggest Movers in the UK and cited increases in brand awareness, reputation, quality, and advocacy. The campaign generated 787 pieces of coverage across 77 markets with an estimated 1.8bn reach. Earned media increased +377% compared to an average week and the documentary reached 100 million.

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Asics’ concluded that the project did change consumer perceptions about the connection between mental and physical health and motivated consumers to exercise. 91% of those who were exposed to the campaign saw the connection between body and mind and 70% felt motivated to move for mental wellness.

Perception of Asics as a brand associated with mental well-being increased by 440% and those exposed to the campaign were 210% more likely to purchase Asics products than those unexposed.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for PR 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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