GM Moving and the local pilot identified the need to develop a simple, positive, asset based social marketing approach with tools to support and enable physical activity behaviour change at neighbourhood level.

In order to support this, Britain Thinks were commissioned to complete an initial research piece into attitudes and behaviours around physical activity, with a focus on the three key audiences in the local pilot.

Some of the key findings from this research piece:

  • Physical activity is often interpreted narrowly.
  • Few are aware of specific activity guidelines (150 minutes for adults per week - WHO guidelines) but can make a reasonable guess.
  • There is clear recognition of the benefits of activity, though short-term benefits can be more motivating than the reduction of longer-term health risks.
  • Many of these barriers are exacerbated because ‘activity’ is often associated with relatively strenuous exercise which can seem both daunting and unenjoyable to the least active residents.

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Britain Thinks suggested key recommendations for a GM marketing campaign:

  • ‘Bite size’ target to aim for
  • Language used in campaign is key – decide between moving Vs physical activity.
  • Focus on short term benefits (sleeping better, boosts to mood etc)
  • Tailor messaging to the three pilot key audiences

Considering these outcomes and key recommendations, a campaign was produced: That Counts!

That Counts! is a marketing campaign that is tackling the challenge head-on in the region. It aims to deliver whole population behaviour change – with a specific focus on the most inactive groups.

The great news is that the early indications are that the approach is working. Just three months into the two-year campaign, research showed it had increased the intention to exercise and self-reported activity levels had risen: 26% of people said they were inactive before the campaign; three months later this dropped to 22%.

82% of people who had seen the campaign said they were doing more activity than the minimum – compared to 76% who were unaware.

The challenges of Covid-19 interrupted the campaign plans but awareness of the campaign held strong to pre-covid levels.

The campaign specifically encourages people who are inactive to become more active by re-framing what it means to be physically active and importantly it raises awareness of the amount of activity people should aim to complete each day (30 mins for adults and 60 mins for children and young people).

The campaign has a GM wide toolkit with locality specific photography, audience specific tag lines and pre-written copy for each audience.

To access the toolkit email [email protected]

Further information can be found here: