Challenger Brand Gymbox Takes Aim at Competitors Through SEO

The London-based gym company has targeted Virgin Active, PureGym and ClassPass searches

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Google advertising was made to stoke competition among brands, allowing them to advertise above other companies that operate in their sector’s search results.

London gym chain Gymbox has turned to the search platform for its latest campaign, targeting other fitness gyms such as Virgin Active and PureGym by hijacking their search positioning with copy tailored to reference specific competitor gyms.

The challenger brand currently has 10 locations across London, although in recent years it has also begun to offer virtual, on-demand home classes.

The response to typing in Virgin Active through Google Search

Now, anyone looking for gyms online will find Gymbox’s cheeky responses like this one in a ClassPass search that reads “Join Gymbox and you’ll never skip a class again,” while those who search for Virgin Active will see this response at the top: “Gymbox: Perfect for first-timers and seasonal sadists alike.”

The SEO ranking of PureGym’s website compared with Gymbox

Rory McEntee, marketing director for Gymbox, said in a statement: “Who says signing up to a gym needs to be a chore? We’re reminding anyone looking to join a gym that Gymbox is the place where you can have a bit of fun while working out. And if we can get a little smile at the expense of our competitors along the way, then what’s the harm?”

McEntee continued: “Let’s face it—PPC [pay-per-click] can be a bit bland and all about performance marketing. As the ‘antidote to boring gyms,’ we do things differently, so thought we would shake things up a bit!”

The SEO response from Gymbox after searching ClassPass

Earlier this year, Gymbox ran side-by-side ads in collaboration with three other startups with the headlines, “Harder, Feta, breakFaster, Stronger”—a pun on Daft Punk’s hit song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” The campaign received more than 2 million views on social media.

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