Agencies line up for Virgin Active's creative account

Virgin Active, the gym chain backed by Sir Richard Branson, is on the hunt for a creative agency.

Virgin Active: its last TV ad was created by Karmarama in 2014
Virgin Active: its last TV ad was created by Karmarama in 2014

It is believed to be speaking to three agencies ahead of a pitch this month.

The company used to work with Karmarama as its lead creative agency, although the pair parted company last year.

Virgin Active is in the process of renewing its marketing arrangements after financial group Brait paid £682 million for an 80 per cent stake in the gym in April. Virgin Group owns the remaining 20 per cent.

The gym chain is currently reviewing its media planning and buying business. The account, estimated to be worth £3 million, is held by Manning Gottlieb OMD, who will re-pitch for the business.

In April, it appointed VML for a £2 million brief to redesign its website and members app. This followed a competitive pitch process that included AKQA. 

When Virgin Active appointed Karmarama in 2013, it gave the agency a brief to make it "the most-loved health club in the UK."

Karmarama created a cinema ad that featured a man in his underwear riding a speeding motorbike through a desert. It urged viewers not just to live, but to "live happily every active." 

Prior to Karmarama, Virgin Active has worked with The Brooklyn Brothers and Beattie McGuinness Bungay on a consultancy basis over the years.