The Chai Chee branch of Anytime Fitness has received backlash for its marketing on TikTok, which mainly features girls in revealing clothing dancing to popular TikTok tunes to promote its opening. Several netizens said the content on Anytime Fitness Chai Chee's TikTok account is irrelevant to the gym. In response to the backlash, Anytime Fitness Chai Chee released another video of men dressed similarly to the girls, using the same advertising technique. Anytime Fitness Chai Chee declined to comment on MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's queries.
According to Anytime Fitness' Chai Chee's Instagram, the gym will open on 1 August. A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE on TikTok found that the gym began promoting its outlet on 11 April. The initial videos did not feature girls but instead focused on showcasing the gym's equipment, space, and transformations of people who visited other Anytime Fitness outlets. However, these videos only garnered less than 95,000 views at the time of writing.
On 25 May, it posted a video of a girl getting off a car and subsequently entering its gym. The video garnered over 142,300 views. Leveraging on the views obtained from the previous video, Anytime Fitness Chai Chee began posting similar videos featuring females in revealing attire to promote its gym. One of its videos even garnered over 383,000 views.
Aside from the videos being unrelated to the gym, some netizens also said that the Anytime Fitness Chai Chee's TikTok content does not promote the gym's equipment either. Instead, the type of content produced is repetitive and the same three individuals are always fronting the videos. Meanwhile, some netizens were sexualising the girls, resulting in other netizens voicing concerns about patronising Anytime Fitness Chai Chee.
In response to the backlash, Anytime Fitness Chai Chee published a video featuring men with the caption: "Internet say no more girls dancing so from now on only sexy boys. Let’s go jimmmmm!" The video garnered over 57,200 views, with mixed comments from netizens. Some praised its marketing and PR response, while some wanted it to feature the girls again.
The number of mentions about Anytime Fitness Chai Chee peaked on 28 July, according to statistics from Meltwater between 30 June to 29 July. he top keywords associated with the TikToks comprise "number of perverts", "same strategy", "gym opening" and "backlash". While 70% of the online sentiments were neutral about the issue, 12% were positive while the other 12% were negative.
A few netizens also called out the gym on Twitter for the lack of representation in its TikTok videos. Meanwhile, a netizen asked why the girls featured in Anytime Fitness Chai Chee's videos were receiving backlash when females in general are advocating for body positivity and choice.
Anytime Fitness has 83 gym branches in Singapore, and 5,049 gym branches worldwide. It also offers a fitness app, a fitness blog, coaching, and 24 hours access to its gym members. Its digital platform, AF Connect, features personalised coaching which provides fitness, nutrition, and recovery guidance accessible any time, anywhere. Anytime Fitness Asia was acquired by Inspire Brands Asia back in 2020, which included the master franchisee licence in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau. It also banked on digital and data-based marketing to expand in Singapore and Malaysia post acquisition.
Meanwhile, other gyms have also previously made their own marketing blunders. Last year, fitness company F45 apologised for posting a "racially insensitive" Deepavali video. The F45 Serangoon Garden South branch was under fire for sharing a now-deleted Instagram story, where two Chinese members were seen bobbling their heads and saying Happy Deepavali to the camera. F45 Serangoon Garden Branch acknowledged netizens' feedback and apologised in an Instagram post.
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