Getting people moving with major behaviour-change campaign.

The Client

Greater Manchester Moving (GM Moving) is a comprehensive plan to reduce inactivity and increase participation in physical activity across Greater Manchester.

It is supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the NHS in Greater Manchester and charities GreaterSport and Sport England.

The Challenge 

The Greater Manchester Moving plan aims to improve health in the region by getting at least two million people (75% of the population) ‘moving more’ by 2025.  

The ambition is that adults achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day (or 2.5 hours per week), with children being active for at least 60 minutes a day.

The Audience

While the campaign is targeted at the inactive population from all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, research highlighted subgroups with high percentages of inactivity: workless individuals, adults aged 40-60 with a disability/long-term health condition, 16-18 year olds and parents of young people aged 5-15.

The research also showed that particularly among these audiences, any form of ‘exercise’ can be a daunting task, especially for those with long-term health conditions.

There was also: 

  • Very low awareness of existing campaigns to increase physical activity and of recommended activity guidelines
  • Low awareness of everyday, more achievable forms of movement that count as activity - physical activity is often interpreted narrowly and can exclude everyday forms of movement
  • Many ‘barriers’ to moving more are exacerbated because ‘activity’ is often associated with relatively strenuous exercise – seen as both daunting and unenjoyable, and hard to fit into busy lives
  • Most respondents say they want to be more active than they currently are (and more active times are looked back on fondly)

The Brief

Our remit for GMM is to deliver an integrated two-year campaign, ending in 2021, with the following measures of success: 

  • Increase levels of activity within the region
  • Demonstrate that the campaign has reached its target audience 
  • Show that the key messages have been understood

To expertly deliver the cross-channel campaign we joined forces with partner agencies Intelligent Conversation (PR & social), Planning Express (planning) and Republic of Media (media buying) to create a best-in-breed agency alliance.

The Campaign

That Counts! skillfully communicates how people can easily incorporate 30 minutes more ‘activity’ in everyday life.

Our creative flips the common narrative around sport and exercise, to empower people instead to move more each day in ways that fit within everyday routines. The creative direction was therefore all about communicating the ease of introducing more activity to daily routines, so we used real life people in the ads, doing real life movements. This ensured that the ads resonated with the target audience, giving them the opportunity to identify with the people shown and become inspired by the activity.

Everything works under the That Counts! strapline and the creative encourages audiences to feel proud that, actually, they can achieve their target in everyday settings. We encouraged recognition that even those doing housework energetically or walking to school versus driving were doing activities ‘that count’. 

Borne out of the in-depth research, we used terminology that would resonate most to this audience. For example using "moving" instead of "being active" or "exercising", and making sure all elements of the messaging were inspiring and motivating rather than instructive and authoritative. 

The launch phase - Wave 1 - integrated digital, print and radio advertising, social media, community engagement and media relations. The outdoor advertising was tailored to the settings, for example getting off a stop early around tram and bus routes and for people to swap the lift for the stairs in high footfall areas like the Trafford Centre and the Arndale. 

The creative uses colour, language and fonts designed to support inclusivity and accessibility.

A digital toolkit was produced to enable a wide range of organisations - including leisure centres, sports clubs, employers, community groups and charities - to get involved in the initiative, providing them with the ability to easily create and download campaign assets tailored to their needs.

The Results 

So far the campaign has more than exceeded its objectives, cutting through in a world saturated with messages that say ‘this is the way to better wellbeing’. 
And benchmarking and evaluation for the first wave of the campaign has demonstrated a positive uplift across all measures:

Activity levels have increased, with 82% of those who saw the campaign now ‘more active’, and all claims of being active up from 74% to 78%. 

Campaign Recall is above the industry standard, with top of mind recall of That Counts! doubling from 7% to 13%. There was also a 24% recall of at least one advert, which is unprecedented for this type of campaign. 

An important measure was to ensure key messages penetration, which again has been extremely high. 8 out of 10 get the message ‘the need to be more active’, while 9 out of 10 get the message ’30 a day’.

The toolkit is being used widely by organisations across the region, accessing the downloadable templates and personalisable communication tools.


“Greater Manchester’s ambition is always to be the best at whatever we do. Our aim is to put physical activity at the heart of our approach for everyone. An active life will become the norm, resulting in better physical and mental health and wellbeing, the strengthening of friendships, family and community relationships.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

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