Adverts for sportswear tend to follow certain tropes, often with a lot of toned, sweaty-beaded flesh on display. But Gymshark is seeking to change gym stereotypes with what it's describing as its "first modest billboard".
It's not actually a billboard but a huge mural depicting fitness influencer Leana Deeb wearing a headscarf. And it's a breath of fresh air for fitness marketing (see our pick of the best sports logos for more inspiration).
The 16x10m mural in Shoreditch, London, is the work of Global Street Art. It uses paint but also real fabric for the headscarf to create a 3D texture that makes it look even more striking. The piece is part of Gymshark's 'Every Strong Belongs’, which, while not entirely grammatical, has the laudable aim of promoting fitness inclusivity with the message that “strength isn’t one size fits all”.
Gymshark says the ad is “the first of its kind to celebrate the millions of women that wear modest clothing each and every day”, including “the huge community of Muslim women in the conditioning community that are putting in the work to improve both their physical and mental health.”
Deeb has gained fame rapidly on Instagram and TikTok. She began posting videos last October and has since gained 18m followers across the two platforms. Gymshark's global partnerships director Calum Watson said: “Leana’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. She’s one of the most important and inspirational athletes in the world today.
“She lives and breathes everything we believe at Gymshark, so it’s amazing to have her on the team. We wanted to do something to not only celebrate Leana, but also her audience and everything she stands for. And, in typical Gymshark style, why not with a world first? Leana, we salute you”
Deeb said: “To be the face of the world’s first modest billboard in such an iconic location here in London is a huge moment and responsibility. I truly believe impactful initiatives like these will empower more women to feel confident in their own skin and embrace their individuality.”
The mural will remain at Whitechapel Street, 16 yards from the East London Mosque, for the next four weeks. For more stunning OOH ads, see our pick of the best billboard advertising.