equinoxart

Fitness Chain Targets Bike-Minded New Yorkers on HopStop

  |  May 17, 2011   |  Comments

Equinox purchases two months of display ads.

equinoxartEquinox wants New York City bicyclists to start thinking ahead to the days when exercising inside may be preferable to pedaling during the oppressive summer heat or bone-chilling winter weather.

The fitness club chain is the first exclusive advertiser for HopStop.com's new biking route feature. Equinox banners are appearing on search results pages for people seeking address-to-address bike routes as well as walking directions.

For the two-month campaign launched in early May, Vickie Segar, senior partnership marketing manager аt Equinox, talked about the ad strategy with ClickZ. The brand has 23 fitness centers in the tri-state New York metro area.

"I think a lot of people would probably question, 'Why is Equinox promoting something that's outdoors when you are trying to sell gym memberships?,'" she said. "We are very lifestyle focused. We definitely have somewhat of a 360-degree approach to fitness… A fitness club is a great complement to biking. It does rain, and we know there are like nine months of cold in New York City. So if you are a biker, this is another way of working out."

When it comes to creative, the marketing manager suggested that her team was testing different designs and copy. For one of the versions (see image), click-throughs are taken to a landing page offering a free three-day membership trial for people who give their name, phone number, and email address. Consumers who sign up are then called by a nearby Equinox gym to help them find the location and start the trial.

Segar commented, "We have a lot of space on the [HopStop] pages, so we'll probably rotate a variety of messages. We take different approaches to our ads in general. The call-to-action is usually about experiencing the club. There's a second call-to-action that is about studio cycling."

HopStop, a six-year-old brand launched in New York, offers public transportation information and city guides for 37 U.S. markets. "We are going to be expanding bike route functionality to all of our markets over time," said Joe Meyer, CEO of the web company. "We'll be looking at other major metropolitan areas such as [Washington] D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston."

HopStop Loses Ground to Google Maps, Gains Ad Partners

Competitor Google Maps began offering biking directions in early March, and is running house ads for "biking directions" as a search query. More generally, the Mountain View, CA-based online giant appears to have become a bit of a thorn in HopStop's side.

According to comScore data, since Google Maps started offering public transit directions two-and-a-half years ago, HopStop has averaged 322,000 unique visitors per month. In the six months prior to Google's arrival on HopStop's turf, the latter averaged 401,000 visitors. Google Maps, according to the Reston, VA-based comScore, had 49 million unique visitors the month before launching public transit directions, while totaling 58 million last month. HopStop contends comScore's numbers are inaccurate. According to its in-house Google Analytics data, the transit info site says it received 1.4 million unique visitors pre-Google Maps in October of 2009 and has averaged 1.45 million monthly so far in 2011.

At any rate, HopStop seems to be attracting advertisers with location-specific opportunities similar to Equinox's plan of targeting bike-minded New Yorkers. For instance, in March, the transit site sold its first-ever multiple-page takeover package to Macy's for the retailer's 37th annual flower show. For one week, the department store chain's display ads appeared on HopStop's public transportation search pages for New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. Macy's was offering guided "Tower of Flowers" tours in each city.

Meanwhile, without giving specifics, Segar from Equinox said early campaign metrics indicate her brand could end up becoming a regular partner with HopStop, which has designs on upgrading its mobile advertising offering. "The reaction in the first few days of the biking routes…people seem to really love it and really love the fitness component," she said. "I think what we are seeing right now says we need to blow it out a little further."

Terms of the HopStop-Equinox advertising deal were not disclosed.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...