Pandemic and Brexit aside, 2021 is the year of what? Why?

Experiences. There is no doubt that 2020 has been a bit of a s*hitshow so what you are going to see is people looking to make up for lost time. The rebound is going to be huge and that craving for IRL social interaction will see a desire to partake in different experiences, live for now and create lasting memories.

What are the 3 most exciting things on your to do list for today?

  1. Presenting our re-opening plans to the boss.
  2. Recording a class promo video on a hotel roof with Tower of London in background 
  3. Reviewing my paid social CPAs!

Who inspires you in adland? Why?

Can I give two? Mel Arrow (strategy) and Matt Lever (creative) from BMB Agency who smashed a challenging brief for us during lockdown and set the tone for us in 2020 and beyond. 

What was the last ad your saw that made you buy something?

Grind coffee pods. Unknowingly until just now actually.  

What’s your all time favourite ad campaign and why?

Reebok created a series of short TV ads in early noughties, ‘Terry Tate, Office Linebacker’. As a piece of ad content it was ahead of its time and it works even 20 years later. Google it and thank me later. 

What’s your single biggest learning of 2020?

Move fast. Think later.

How do you plan to take your business forward in 2021? 

In less than 12 months, our brand has gone from being a bricks and mortar business based in London to a global brand you can experience digitally in over 100 countries worldwide. 

As well as growing that digital presence, we will see more opportunities in the at home and corporate markets where we transform unused space into a mini Gymbox. We will also look at more business extensions such as our recent global partnership with citizenM hotels where we offer their guests the opportunity to workout in their rooms.

What keeps you awake at night?

Social media ‘influencers’. 

What’s the biggest opportunity in marketing and advertising right now?

Collabs – the industry has had a reset. We all need to look after each other and any snobbery or challenges that may have existed before has melted away and I think there is a fresh mind-set to do things differently. 

We have some exciting collabs and partnerships lined up that I think benefit all the brands involved and also add value to our community and that can only be a good thing for everyone. 

What kind of innovation excites you the most?

The coming together of tech and how it can solve everyday problems gets me super excited. The fitness industry has lagged behind the likes of innovation you see in the food and travel sectors.

 I’m getting to experience first-hand how we can take those innovations and layer them onto our specific challenges and bring more personalisation and innovation into our industry. 

Lockdown is over. The office is open. Describe your perfect working day...

In Gymbox at 7am for my workout. I love being there first thing when it’s busy and full of energy. Mornings tend to be when I’m at my most creative and efficient so it’ll be a mix of calls and meetings with different agencies and my team coming up with new ideas for classes, events or marketing. 

Afternoons I’ll try to get out to the gyms and then have some ‘quiet’ time in a coffee shop or bar to catch up on all the social channels and respond to new opportunity requests. Then smash a few quick beers in Soho to decompress from the day!

What would you most like to change about the ad industry?

The pitch process. I don’t know the answer or the best approach but there is a big disconnect between brands and agencies and it’s something that needs to be addressed for the greater good for all. Answers on a postcard…

What are you speaking about at MAD//Anywhere? 

We shut our doors overnight and lost all revenue. We had no product or service but as a brand led business, we didn’t want to just stop communicating so I’ll talk about how we kept the lights on and continued to tell our brand story and engage our community when we had f*ck all to talk about!

Rory is speaking at MAD//Anywhere on 11 March. Attendees can also enjoy a special Gymbox MAD//Anywhere HIIT workout on 10 March. Click here to buy your ticket for just £149.