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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Planet Fitness Watermelon Head

Finalist in Meme


The fitness industry fills social media with a constant stream of lies, intimidation, and false expectations. However, the Planet Fitness Instagram feed stands out as an honest and unfiltered reflection of all the ways followers can experience better health and fitness.

Planet Fitness’ Instagram posts aim to combat the harmful “#Fitspiration” and “#NoPainNoGain” myths by showing followers they can have a more honest approach to working out and feeling good. Ultimately, people are just looking for things they can relate to. 

We know perfection isn’t attainable in fitness, so Planet Fitness doesn’t strive for it in little squares on Instagram either. That’s how our content serves one clear purpose – to make our followers feel like they truly belong, executed through a single approach to rewriting the rules of fitness: MEMES.

Strategy and Execution

In 2019, Planet Fitness became the first gym account to post all memes, all the time. Then... 2020 happened. As COVID lockdowns increasingly kept people away from the gym (and many from working out altogether) our Instagram posts shifted to empathize with the boredom and constriction that followers had been feeling, while also finding some semblance of humor in our “new normal.” From memes depicting dreams of missing your favorite cardio machine to “If you could sacrifice one exercise to end COVID-19, what would it be and why burpees?” we found an incredibly positive response to content that was rooted in our followers’ reality.  

This entry, the Watermelon Guy, is an example of how we partnered with a Planet Fitness member to help find levity in a mostly-dire fitness landscape. It resulted in more than a few smiles. Working out with a literal watermelon mask on his face, our hero found a silver lining and gave Planet Fitness followers a thumbs up. Our caption simply stated, “Use your melon. Wear a mask.”


Watermelon Guy, posted on July 30th, was extremely well received and served the purpose of bringing humor AND comfort to Planet Fitness followers when they needed it most. The video garnered 139,913 Impressions, 8,727 Engagements, and a 6.2% Engagement Rate. These statistics resulted in it being one of the top 3 performing pieces of content for the entire year. Beyond the numbers, it shows how a brand (even a gym) can find success with their audience when they connect with people on a human level. 


Video for Planet Fitness Watermelon Head

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Planet Fitness


Entry Credits