Ad agency McCann unveils Playnasium, claiming to ‘reinvent the exercise machine’ for YMCA

Ad agency McCann has unveiled a new project in which it claims to have “reinvented the exercise machine” on behalf of new client YMCA.

The agency’s Melbourne operation has developed three items of outdoor gym equipment “that use children’s weight as exercise weights, allowing parents to work out whilst powering their children’s play. The result means families can be at the park and the gym at the same time.”

Only one set of the Playnasium items has been created, which it says will be showcased at “community activations” across Victoria in coming months. The agency said it began working with YMCA Victoria in June 2015.


According to today’s Playnasium launch announcement: “For over 150 years the YMCA’s purpose has been to make communities healthier and happier by getting people together to get active. To do this, they have established a rich history of innovation, including the creation of basketball and volleyball.”

“The machines include the Pull Upsy-Daisy, the Row-Row-Row Machine and the Pec-A-Boo. Each piece of equipment is designed for different age groups and muscle groups, helping adult and child spend quality time together.

“This new product development is supported by an integrated campaign including online films, social, print and an app that allows parents to record and share their workout and video of their children’s playtime.”

No Playnasium app yet appears to be available on Apple’s App Store.

In the announcement, Matt Lawson, ECD of McCann Melbourne said: “It’s great that getting fit doesn’t have to take you away from your kids. Plus, now the YMCA can introduce kids to exercise in a fun way, before they can even exercise.”

There are no plans to instal the equipment at YMCA gyms. The announcement says of the next steps: “The equipment will be used in community activations across Victoria over the coming year, with a view to work with councils to have the equipment permanently installed in playgrounds across the country.”

Asked by Mumbrella for more detail on how the brand intended to persuade councils to commission and install the equipment, the agency issued a statement saying: “The long term objective to locate the Playnasium permanently in local parks would be a two phased approach. The first being to find a corporate partner to ensure that the Playnasium can be scaled and secondly, having conversations with local councils and government to secure locations and interest. The YMCA has already commenced conversations with various councils and received welcomed interest.”

The launch of the concept has been backed with a glossy website for the YMCA Playnsium and a series of videos explaining how the equipment would work if it ever went into mass production.

Meanwhile, entries open for the Cannes Lions next week.


  • Agency: McCann Melbourne
  • Managing Director: Adrian Mills
  • Chief Creative Officer: Pat Baron
  • Executive Creative Director: Matt Lawson
  • Creative Team: Charles Baylis & Matt Lawson
  • Copywriter: Charles Baylis
  • Art Director: Caity Moloney
  • Business Director: Alec Hussain
  • Account Executive: Angela Lethbridge
  • Digital Director: Tony Prysten
  • Social Director: Chris Baker
  • Digital Designers: Pocai De Almeida & Victoria U
  • Senior Digital Producer: Joe Guario
  • Head of Production: Victoria Connors
  • Producer: Afrim Memed
  • Music Production: Caity Maloney and Nat Pavlovic


  • General Manager of Engagement: Cinzia Marrocco
  • Marketing Manager: Bec Schafer
  • Communications Manager: Laura Munns
  • Marketing Specialist: Lana Burton

Film Production: Treehouse Studios

Director: Nick Rieve

Production Design Company – Bayly


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