Elevating a Challenger Brand



Since 1997, MOVATI Athletic has been expanding with new gyms across Ontario. The brand’s focus on an exceptional gym experience at an affordable rate brought them continued success, but still left them struggling to stand out in a crowded fitness landscape with a sea-of-same advertising. They were advertising like every other gym with loud, busy design and SALE! SALE! SALE! messaging. We told them to stop advertising like a Toyota Red tag event and advertise like BMW. Go premium and attack the competition on experience, not pricing. They were as excited as we were.



To create a new brand identity that better captured the premium experience of being a MOVATI member, we adapted segmentation research and focus groups to understand how members think and feel about MOVATI. They believed that MOVATI is a premium brand at an unexpected value. From this, we uncovered that MOVATI has an exceptional, premium offering that wasn’t being reflected in their communications. We also found that they compete with other big box gyms that have a slightly lower price point, but they cater to those seeking a premium experience. This put MOVATI in a unique position that we knew would be key to our concept that MOVATI is a fitness club, not “just a gym”.



We created several brand territory expressions and honed in on a brand manifesto that culminated with a statement that was based on founder Chuck Kelly’s complete philosophy for MOVATI members: FITNESS THAT PUTS YOU FIRST.

In order to convey the experience of being a MOVATI member, we elevated their communications: more white space, authentic photography and cleaner, more elegant graphic separations that are inspired by the angles and elements of the logo itself. Crucially, we removed the sales-y tone of voice and elevated their copy in all mediums, including OOH, print and radio, to give their audience a better understanding of who they really are and what they believe in as a brand – FITNESS THAT PUTS YOU FIRST.



We implemented the new brand across all their touch points to bring the positioning to life in a cohesive way. This included print, direct mail, out of home, web, social, internal documents, photography, pre-roll, radio and collateral.



  • Senior Art Director

  • Oversaw that all design assets were consistent with the new brand positioning

  • Designed a brand book to handoff to the client and partners

  • Led a planning session to prioritize a 35 image shot list with the client which I then casted and captured over a 3 day photoshoot. The purpose of the shoot was to detail the members, group classes, and moments in fitness that make Movati a unique fitness experience.

Agency: ICF Olson
Creative Director: Dylan Gerard
Copywriter: Stephen Sinisi




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Brand Book