Commercial Success: CrossFit Messaging Shines Between Competition

October 27, 2020 by
Photo Credit: BeardGod Media (instagram.com/beardgodmediahouse)

The CrossFit Games broadcast this past weekend gave fans and members of the community plenty to be hopeful about. The production quality and wall-to-wall coverage was a clear signal towards the company’s future plans to once again elevate the platform of the sport.

But for many in the community, the biggest signal for the future of CrossFit came in between the action on the competition floor, as CrossFit’s commercial breaks during the stream were occupied by packages and featurettes highlighting stories within the community that were centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

One big thing: During Eric Roza’s introductory Town Hall, he explicitly stated that a big focus of the company moving forward would be the cultivation of DEI internally within its ranks and promotion of DEI outwardly in the community. 

  •  Clear messaging: The first few commercial breaks of such a highly anticipated broadcast are incredibly important considering attention and receptiveness will be at a fever pitch. Not only did CrossFit lead with videos with clear messaging around DEI, but every single commercial break within the stream included them as well.

Corie, My New Troop: The opening video detailed the journey of Corie Mapp, a CrossFitter and Paralympic athlete originally from Barbados who served in the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados defense force, and the British Army. 

  • During a deployment to Afghanistan, his vehicle struck an IED, and the explosion led to portions of both his legs being amputated. He eventually found bobsled and CrossFit, and highlights the healing he achieved as a result.
  • Worth noting: Straight out of the gates, CrossFit chooses to highlight an adaptive athlete of color and former serviceman based outside of the United States. 

Ron Gets Fit: The next commercial break between the men’s and women’s CrossFit Total highlighted Ron Britt, who at 31 years-old, was obese, and prediabetic with high blood pressure and was told by his doctor that he needed to make a change or potentially head to an early grave.

  • As a father of two, Ron immediately thought of his kids and the possibility of leaving them without a father and not being able to enjoy seeing them grow up. After joining CrossFit NYC, he lost over 80 pounds, and was able to set a better example of exercise and nutrition for his children. 
  • Worth noting: Following in the second commercial spot is another person of color, one who was once obese and struggling with the common elements of chronic disease who regained control of his health through CrossFit. 

But wait, there’s more: The trend continued throughout the weekend, and with each commercial break, came various stories of people across the spectrum that make up the mosaic of life experience that the CrossFit community carries with them.

  • During the Toes-To-Bar/Lunge event, a CrossFit Journal piece featured Little Harpeth CrossFit and Owner Allen Buck, an Anesthesiology Specialist and septuagenarian using CrossFit as a form of preventative medicine.
  • During the Snatch Speed Triple, a video highlighted the legends program at CrossFit Rebels in Clearwater, Florida that focuses on building functional fitness for 70+ year-old athletes. 
  • Immediately after a video showcased a kids program in Latin America, with the video done entirely in Spanish, with English subtitles.
  • During the Swim ‘N Stuff event, the commercial break consisted of highlights from the first CrossFit Scholarship Program Level 1 course in Atlanta, GA where CrossFit partnered with the Atlanta Leadership Club to provide free access to the Level 1 course to underprivileged youth in the area. 

Why this matters: Back before the massive media team layoffs and changes to the sport following the 2018, the media team and the platform that the CrossFit Games provided were the companies biggest marketing and messaging arm thanks to the commercial success of feature-length documentaries about the Games and airtime provided by CBS. 

  • CBS is the largest broadcast network on the planet, and commercial air space on their channel where similar CrossFit messaging could be on full display to millions of homes, many of which would be new to the methodology, was something that wasn’t in the cards for the company before the rise of the CrossFit Games.
  • In the age of on-demand media, former media team members Heber Cannon, Marston Sawyers, Mariah Moore, and Ian Wittenber have had five different documentaries land on the iTunes all-time bestsellers list (four are currently there), spreading the CrossFit methodology to huge swath of new people outside of the community.

The bottom line: CrossFit stands in unique possession of an elegant solution to the world’s most vexing problem, but through their reach and resources it also stands in unique possession of the most effective platform to ensure that solution is distributed and heard worldwide. 

The new regime choosing to use the Games once again as a conduit for the messaging of that solution, as well as employing storytellers to highlight DEI through the stories told during the commercial breaks is a welcomed sign of company efforts and the course they have set for the future. 

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