Workout Anytime is about to gain some national exposure in the movie "Mother's Day."
The Garry Marshall-directed comedy, which opens across the country on Friday, follows characters portrayed by Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis as they come together in the week leading up to Mother's Day. Sudeikis' character, Bradley, is a Workout Anytime franchisee, and Aniston's character, Sandy, is a member at the club.
Workout Anytime's role in the movie began when Workout Anytime Chief Operations Officer Mark de Gorter received a call from a colleague shortly after he began working at the Alpharetta, Georgia-based company in August 2015. Film distribution company Open Road Films was shooting a movie in Atlanta that featured a health club, and de Gorter's colleague wanted to know if Workout Anytime was interested in being the featured gym. De Gorter was interested – even though he did not know exactly what the movie was about at the time.
"We showed them our facility here, and they just loved it – they loved the layout, they loved the color scheme, they loved the size, they loved the name," de Gorter told Club Industry. "One of our trademarks is a red and grey checkerboard floor that is an element of all of our clubs. They really felt that was something that was interesting and would pop nicely, too."
Open Road Films scouted other clubs in the area and contemplated building a health club set before selecting Workout Anytime, de Gorter said. The contracts, approvals and shot lists for the Workout Anytime scenes were developed within a week of the first meeting with Open Road Films. The scenes featuring Sudekis' and Aniston's characters were shot at a Workout Anytime club near the company's headquarters in Alpharetta, one of the brand's 106 locations nationwide.
Open Road Films worked closely with Workout Anytime to ensure the shots on set worked well for the film but also worked for the brand in terms of exposure, de Gorter said. In one scene, members depicted inside the club wear Workout Anytime-branded apparel. Open Road Films also built some elements of the Workout Anytime brand for set use and created a sign for the wall to enhance the filming in one scene.
"It (the sign) looks so good we just kept it in the club," de Gorter said. "They just did a great job of exposing our brand in a way that was fun, made a lot of sense and was very authentic. To us, it was the ultimate example of art imitating life. Jason plays a franchisee, Jennifer plays a member and that's exactly the way things happen in our world."
Workout Anytime put together a marketing strategy to highlight the brand's association in the film. A public sweepstakes earned a Workout Anytime member from Nashville, Tennessee, and a guest an all-expenses paid trip to the recent premiere in Hollywood, which de Gorter also attended with Workout Anytime CEO Steve Strickland.
Workout Anytime also awarded various prizes last week in a series of promotions that will continue through Mother's Day. Other promotions include free tickets to the movie for new members through Fandago, flower bouquets through film partner Pro-Flowers and movie screenings in select markets. The brand also is placing "Mother's Day" posters inside its clubs.
"[Mother's Day] is going to work really well, we believe, to create some strong awareness to Workout Anytime," de Gorter said. "It drives a lot of traffic to the clubs, it gives our members a real nice sense of pride seeing their club on the big screen and, of course, we think the franchisees will have something unique to rally around as well."