The Y for a better us

Morgan Kumm

“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA!” Most of us know this classic song and the motions that go along with it. But the YMCA has faced some challenges with brand purpose. Often they know what the purpose is, but consumers just think of the Y as a gym or a place they can swim a few laps after work.

The YMCA began its first  ever national campaign this year, titled “For a better us.” It involves a mixture of owned media with some earned from its video spots online, but the campaign really tends to focus on its paid video content. I first saw the commercial titled “Places” during the Super Bowl. this video spot played to emotions by conveying the message that there are places in America that are forgotten and that no one pays attention to except when they make the news for something unpleasant. The commercial stated that unlike the world, the Y doesn’t forget these communities or its residents by offering things like safe-places, after-school activities and mentoring.

The YMCA needed to reach a mass audience and find a powerful way to show consumers what the brand is all about. TV in combination with Youtube channels were the perfect paid medium. The Y was able to use the power of video to shift brand image and reach new customers by showing them some of the programs they offer for after-school and the impact these programs have. Most current customers know what their membership gets them, whereas new customers have that mentality of the Y being a gym.

The audience insights from this campaign are emotional because the video titles places follows the idea that the YMCA is a support system helping real people in real communities with unique stories. This video makes people FEEL something.

Personally, I love this campaign. I was one of those people that thought the Y consisted of a gym and a pool. These video ads are powerful and shows the power of this non-profit.


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