Life Fitness’s Advertising Platform Brings Programmatic Ads to the Gym

The fitness equipment company has been piloting its advertising platform behind the scenes

The only thing consumers can do to block out OOH ads is walk away—and that’s not really a possibility in the midst of a strenuous cardio routine. Life Fitness

Programmatic advertising isn’t just regulated to our computer screens anymore. Recent months have seen digital billboards in malls, airports and city streets go digital. Now, the trend is hitting the gym.

Today, Life Fitness—a fitness equipment company that produces everything from treadmills to elliptical bikes for gyms, college dorms and hotels across the country—officially kicked off its advertising platform set to work on the tablet screens hooked up to many pieces of its cardio equipment. Life Fitness has been piloting the program (aptly dubbed Life Fitness Media) since October of last year and will roll it out into “select” markets throughout the U.S. this year.

The new media company will sell its inventory not only directly, but also programmatically, thanks to a partnership with Vistar Media, an ad-tech firm that aggregates location and behavioral consumer data into its OOH-centric ad exchange.

Gym-goers may notice changes ranging from in-gym promos—like newly available personal trainers—to fitness-centric ads that appeal to the American fitness enthusiast, according to Melanie Wagner, who directs innovations and digital solutions for Life Fitness. “We looked at this as an opportunity to take advantage of our screen presence,” she explained. “You have this audience that’s captive, highly engaged and are frankly accustomed to seeing their favorite brands across different screens every day. It felt like a natural extension to bring those brands to our screens as well.”

As more and more digital screens fill consumer’s lives, advertisers are mulling over the best ways to monetize that space at scale, with the help of programmatic channels. Analysts at Magna estimated that the digital OOH market would reach roughly $31 billion globally by the end of 2018, and we’ve seen industry heavyweights like Verizon Media throw their hats into the ring by adding OOH inventory to their DSP offerings last month.

Magna evp Vincent Letang attributed OOH’s success to the inability to skip or block ads the way consumers tend to do when they’re using a mobile app or watching an online video. The only thing consumers can do to block out OOH ads is walk away—and that’s not really a possibility in the midst of a strenuous cardio routine.


@swodinsky shoshana.wodinsky@adweek.com Shoshana Wodinsky is Adweek's platforms reporter, where she covers the financial and societal impacts of major social networks. She was previously a tech reporter for The Verge and NBC News.