Workout Anytime Lands Role in ‘Mother’s Day’ Movie

Posted on April 21, 2016

Workout Anytime is about to get some national exposure that money simply cannot buy.

Jennifer Aniston, just named the 2016 World’s Most Beautiful Woman by People magazine, plays a Workout Anytime club member in the upcoming movie “Mother’s Day,” directed by the legendary Garry Marshall. Jason Sudeikis, Aniston’s co-star and soon-to-be dad of two, plays a Workout Anytime club owner in the movie, which hits theaters on April 29.

Workout Anytime CEO and co-founder Steve Strickland and COO Mark de Gorter have already seen the film, along with a lucky Workout Anytime member and friend who won a company sweepstakes and went to Hollywood for the movie’s premiere. The four were there last week for the red carpet and attended the VIP after-party.

“It was really a lot of fun,” de Gorter says. “It’s a cute film. It’s a fun, feel-good film. It’s a classic example of art imitating life. When you watch the film, it’s almost like a Workout Anytime commercial was inserted into a major motion picture.”

And that’s what you get when your brand is in a movie such as “Mother’s Day,” which stars Kate Hudson and, oh by the way, Julia Roberts, and is scheduled for release in about 3,000 theaters. The movie will go through the normal motion picture lifespan, from U.S. release to international release to DVD to pay-per-view to streaming services such as Netflix.

“Unlike a Super Bowl ad that reaches a tremendous amount of people and costs millions of dollars, this one has an opportunity to run long after the movie opens,” de Gorter says. “We think it’s going to be a tremendous vehicle to really launch the brand in a different way.”

So how did Workout Anytime land such a prominent role in the movie? de Gorter has some Hollywood experience from his days as the vice president of MET-Rx. He was able to get product placement for the sports nutrition company in such films as “Any Given Sunday” and “Jackie Brown” in the 1990s.

A promotional image for the movie “Mother’s Day,” courtesy of Workout Anytime.

When de Gorter found out that Open Road Films was shooting a movie in Atlanta, (which has become a hotbed for Hollywood movie production), and had a fitness club owner as one of its main characters and needed a fitness club to shoot, de Gorter jumped right in.

“They looked at a number of different clubs, and they felt that ours really showed a fitness club the way they wanted to show one for this particular role,” de Gorter said. “They loved the color scheme. They loved the layout. They liked the look of the checkerboard floor. It just really fit together. The way that the studio incorporated our brand into the film was tremendous.”

The Workout Anytime club in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Ga., which is just down the road from the company’s headquarters, was closed for two days last August during the shooting of the fitness club scenes. A consultant was on set to make sure the scenes looked fitness-y.

With the movie’s release, Workout Anytime is doing a host of promotional activities through May 8 (Mother’s Day, of course). In addition to the sweepstakes for the movie’s Hollywood premiere, Workout Anytime is showing special screenings in its key markets (including Chicago, Philadelphia and San Diego) and is offering one-year and one-month memberships as well as bouquets of flowers. The studio likes how Workout Anytime is helping promote the movie in smaller markets, de Gorter adds, because smaller markets typically do not get studio dollars for promotion.

“We’re trying to really make this a big deal,” de Gorter says. “It’s really been a lot of fun.”

As a company, Workout Anytime just opened its 100th club and now has 106 throughout the country. de Gorter says the company plans to open 40 to 60 new clubs this year. The impact of “Mother’s Day” on Workout Anytime will carry on long after this year.

“Usually tie-ins like this are reserved for the big brands in the automotive, financial services and fast food industries,” de Gorter says. “For us in the fitness industry and for Workout Anytime to get something like this, it really represents a fun new frontier for us.”