1.    2024 is the year of? 

Brand building over performance marketing. I see this year as the year where brands finally see greater value in looking at the long term over short sighted spikes in driving performance. That’s if CMO’s can ride out the short term ROI wave and avoid getting the bullet!

2.   Who is your hero from the marketing and advertising world? Why?

Is Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Reynolds acceptable? Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. A master in product launches and he has brought back the element of humour in advertising that has been missing for a long time. His blueprint of unconventional personal branding is something that you are now seeing a lot of people and brands trying to do. Particularly on LinkedIn. And most of the times, badly. 

What I love about his approach is his ability to humanise his brands and connect with his audience on a more personal level. Something we are all stiving to do. Dam, I hate how good he is!

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

I’m still convinced social media is listening to me. And as a cynic who thinks he knows marketing and would never fall for it, I’ve succumbed to the algorithms and clicked on those retargeting adverts more and more in recent times. 

Grind Coffee Pods get me every time. Not sure if it’s the sustainable messaging, my constant need for caffeine they somehow know about or THAT millennial pink pantone. Get’s me every time. 

4. What’s your all time favourite advert/campaign and why? 

I’d love to give you an advert that is progressive and changes the societal or political narrative and drives impact but that would be a fat lie. 

I bloody love the old Lynx adverts. Particularly the ones that got banned. They are unapologetically single minded in their execution. 

The ‘Spray More, Get More’ advert where bikini-clad women run towards a single Lynx-spraying man on a beach is fantastic. Not only does it resonate emotionally with it’s target audience, it actively says use the product more to drive frequent purchases. A great example of brand and commercial objectives coming together. And it’s got that shareability factor so many ads crave nowadays. 

Rory is a fan of Lynx adverts

5. Fortune favours the bold - how is your brand being bold and cutting through the noise?

We have an irreverent and pretty punchy tone of voice. And we let that be the hero in our communications. In a world where striking visuals and now CGI is becoming the centre of attention, we like to strip it right back and use our copy to make people notice the brand. It is raw and can marmite to some but it get’s attention and we like to call BS on the usual cliché stuff you normally associate with fitess. We’re not afraid to partner with dirty chicken shops, donut or beer brands to reach new audiences and that surprises some people.

We are all about ‘making working out as fun as going out’ and all of our communications leans into this. We’re the antidote to all those boring gyms you see out there. And that helps us stand out in a competitive space.

6. What keeps you awake at night?

The next big idea. I never switch off when it come’s to thinking about our next event, stunt or partner. Even after all the effort and sweat it takes to pull something off, as soon as it has launched, I’m onto the next thing. Trying to constantly improve and build on our previous execution is something that never stops. I love it really. 

7. Given the advances in AI, do you have a job in 5 years time?  

I’m not having AI. 

Yes it’s here and we need to adopt it in some form but if anything, it’s shown me the importance of people and our role in this industry. Marketing is all about creativity, empathy, and understanding human behaviour. Things will change and change fast but I expect AI to help with the remedial tasks we all have to do to allow us as marketers to focus on the big ideas, originality and the creative that only humans can develop. 

8. Which established brand continues to inspire you? 

Guinness. I’m just in awe of everything they do. While some brands have spikes in activity or campaigns, Guinness consistently get it right. Whether it’s big brand campaigns, sports sponsorship or jumping on a topical event, they just get it right and they never seem out of place taking to different audiences. 

They are one of the only brands that play the long game, are always on and don’t just turn the tap on and off. But it’s the simplicity and consistency in their advertising that I admire the most. Too many brands get bored of what they doing and change it up too much whereas Guinness continue with the black and white cues that make each ad ownable every single time. 

9. Which challenger/game changing brand should we all have our eyes on?

Surreal have my heart. Not just because we did the worlds first 4 brand collaboration with them (which was really great by the way check it out!) but because they are brave. They have that tone of voice I love and push the boundaries. Any brand can spend and get noticed but what I love about Surreal is that they will keep trying new things. They know how to create noise and get cut through on little budget. They don’t get everything right, who does? But what I admire about them most is that they keep turning up and they aren’t afraid to try something new. 

10. What is the most underrated superpower in marketing?

Being easy to work with. Marketing is all about people and if you can work collaboratively, you’ll reap the benefits. And get home on time. 

It not what you do, it’s how you do it.

And finally...

11. What are you speaking about at MAD//Fest in July? 

Asking for forgiveness, not permission. I’ll be talking about how a small challenger brand like Gymbox punches above its weight with an approach that gets us noticed and talked about but at times also gets us in trouble. 

MAD//Fest London is back in July (2,3,4) at The Old Truman Brewery and Rory will be speaking - Book your ticket now!