Crunch Fitness boils down its New Year’s message to a simple theme: ‘Feel Good, Not Bad’

Campaign from Familiar Creatures takes a straighforward approach to stand out in the crowded gym landscape

Published On
Dec 19, 2023
A man in a tent with a snake biting his face

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Snakebites, bad. Getting a dopamine release from a workout, good.

The new campaign from Crunch Fitness isn’t much more complicated than that, as agency Familiar Creatures seeks to differentiate the gym chain during the New Year’s season—a key time for gym sign-ups.

A launch :30, directed by Ben/Dave, kicks off with the snakebite before delving into other bad stuff in life, contrasted with a goodness Crunch brings.


Justin Bajan, co-founder and creative director of Familiar Creatures, told Ad Age that the agency discovered, while working on Crunch’s brand strategy, that the chain wasn’t just offbeat and fun—they were also big on being real and authentic. 

“So when we started working on brand platform ideas, we really liked how direct, straightforward and refreshingly simple ‘Feel Good. Not Bad’ was,” he said. “It said everything we needed to say without beating around the bush.” 

Bajan added: “This is who Crunch is. They tell you like it is, but they want you in on the joke. The last couple years the brand has been more retail-heavy in the marketing approach. This new platform allows us to play at the awareness level but also has the room to speak to their specific RTBs and promotions. It’s in the same vein of everything we’ve done, but goes after a higher-order mission, instead of just being about the gym.”

Creatively, the spot combines absurdist humor with the joy and energy of the Crunch scenes. 

“We just got back some testing results and found out that 100% of respondents recall the opening scene of the man with a snake latched onto his face. So we know it will pass the first five seconds test,” said Bajan. “Plus, a lot of commercials love to bury the lede, saving the end for revealing the brand and what the spot was really about. We think being overtly simple and direct will go a long way.”

The gym scenes, meanwhile, capture the satisfaction and dopamine release of finishing a set or cracking a new goal. “That’s why we really focused on people’s facial reactions in the gym,” said Bajan.

The media mix includes spot cable, OTT, paid social, out-of-home, live radio reads and direct mail. “Success is simple: did we increase leads per club per day?” said Bajan. “A nice bonus would be seeing it impact the culture—will people use the ad to make memes or suggest new BADs to Crunch’s social channels? That would feel good.”


Dec 19, 2023
Client :
Crunch Fitness
Agency :
Familiar Creatures
Creative Director :
Justin Bajan
Sr. Art Director :
T. Scott Major
Sr. Copywriter :
Joel Stiling
Producer :
Colleen Hopkins
Account Lead :
Carey Ely
Production Company :
Community Films
Director :
Ben Hurst
Director :
Dave Thomas
Director of Photography :
Munn Powell
Line Producer :
Erin Malloy
Editor :
Tiffany Burchard
Music & Sound :
Color & Finish :

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