Orangetheory Invites 300 Million People to Work Out for Free as Daylight Saving Time Ends

Fitness unicorn uses that extra hour for audacious stunt

Perhaps there's a better use of your time? Orangetheory
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For shame, people! You say you have no time to get fit but yet you’re frittering away untold hours binge-watching, Twitter warring and Fortnite playing. Just because you sometimes bust a sweat does not make those active pursuits.

And, in short, you lie.

Orangetheory, the Florida-based fitness studio, is here to call bullshit on your top excuse for skipping the gym. And on Nov. 4, when the clocks roll back for the end of Daylight Saving Time, the brand is launching a free day of classes to celebrate that 25th hour.

“Everybody says they’re too busy to work out—it’s by far the most common excuse,” said Kevin Keith, the chain’s chief brand officer. “But you’re busted, America. We know that what you say and what you do are two different things. We feel like it’s our responsibility to give some tough love.”

To debut the stunt, Orangetheory aired a 30-second commercial during Monday Night Football on ESPN. The chain’s CEO Dave Long, in his first starring role in an ad, is not buying the lame reasons people give for ditching their workouts.

“Look at you, just crushing it watching football,” he says in the spot, noting that you couldn’t possibly cram in exercise because you “have to spend, like, all day overthinking your fantasy lineups.”

The work, from longtime agency The Tombras Group, offers “all 300 million of you” a free workout. Though the truths are harsh, the tone is tongue in cheek.

“We want people to laugh about it,” Keith said, “and use it as a starting point to change their lives.”

The media buy aims at a broad demographic, both men and women, and could be introducing the brand to many football fans for the first time, Keith said. (The ad says many people “have never even heard of Orangetheory” because they’re far too occupied on the couch).

In a 90-second digital spot, filled with more time-wasting insights based on the company’s consumer research, Long says he’s going to do “literally whatever it takes to get every last one of you to spend just one of those 25 hours with us.”

Execs say they’re prepping for a significant response, and no one will be turned away from the promotion. If there’s overflow on Sunday, Nov. 4, the day DST ends, those interested in trying the workout will be accommodated on a different day, Keith said.

They’re also making sure that classes will be populated with a mix of newbies and experienced members, who will be mobilized to share the spots, invite family and friends, and cheer on the first-timers.

The brand, nearing 1 million members and 1,100 locations with triple-digital revenue growth in recent years, launched its first national advertising in January. (Previous marketing had focused on AI-enabled hyperlocal and digital efforts).

“More Life” touted the vibrancy and wellbeing that comes from working out and steers clear of industry tropes like scales and tape measures. It continues this fall with the focus on the brand’s technology, where participants wear heart monitors and get real-time feedback along with live coaching.

The “25th Hour” promo, which has been in the works for months with a PR assist from Ketchum, is a continuation of that campaign, with digital and social outreach as well as a dedicated website (with an excuse generator to keep the humor going).

“We thought it was kind of an insane idea that we should totally do,” Keith said. “Every fitness brand out there is trying to motivate people. We thought we’d come at it from a different angle.”

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.