Asics calls out intimidating exercise culture with ‘A New Personal Best’
The multimedia campaign is the latest collaboration between the sportswear brand and mental health charity Mind.
Asics and Mind have joined forces for World Mental Health Day (October 10) to call out performance-based exercise culture after research revealed that it is putting people off exercise and having a negative impact on their mental and physical health.
According to the survey of 2000 UK-based people aged 18+ by Onepoll, 78% of respondents don’t find typical sports advertising motivating and 33% say sports adverts actually put them off exercising. A further two-thirds of those who don’t exercise (68%) say they’re too embarrassed to go to the gym because they feel they don’t fit the mold of a ‘typical' exerciser.
In the hopes of motivating more people to exercise for their mental well-being Asics and Mind are seeking to redefine a ‘personal best’ – instead encouraging people to focus on how exercise makes them feel.
Gary Raucher, executive vice-president of Asics EMEA, explained: “The sports industry has been telling us for years that the only thing that matters is a faster time, a longer distance, a higher score, and more reps. Although it’s aimed at motivating people, our research shows it’s having the reverse effect and instead creates an intimidating culture that’s putting people off exercise – something we’re committed to change.
Alongside a 60-second spot and a print and out-of-home campaign, created by Golin, Asics also engaged ambassadors to support the initiative, including Tom Durnin, whose inspirational story captivated the UK when he finished in last place at the London Marathon 2023.
Mental health activist and TV personality Dr Alex George also features in the campaign alongside people across the UK from all walks of life and all levels of fitness who have used exercise to support their mental health – from Biola, who started a women’s cycling group to support people experiencing anxiety, to Adam, who has reclaimed his relationship with movement on his own terms after years of exercise being a cause of anxiety and depression.
Dr Alex George said: “As someone who is passionate about the benefits of exercise on mental health, it’s upsetting but unsurprising that people feel excluded and alienated by the sports industry. People need to know that regardless of the type of exercise they do, or the times or distances they achieve, any movement benefits mental health and is something that should be celebrated.”
Asics is calling on people to share their own ‘new personal best’ images on social media - whether it’s doing a short walk, playing a game of football with friends, or making it to your first yoga class. Every image shared with #NewPersonalBest on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Twitter between October 10 and December 10 2023 will raise £5 for mental health charity Mind.