Sunday, January 29, 2012

12-01-29: The Reebok CrossFit commercial

The Reebok:CrossFit Commercial 

During the 2011 NFC championship game, the world of fitness was changed forever when this little gem was aired for the first time:

Wow, I mean just wow, right? Seriously, the sport of fitness HAS arrived. Of course, all hell broke loose on the interwebz, with those FOR Reebok:CrossFit acting like the tide has completely turned, and now everyone on the planet will clearly begin CrossFitting tomorrow (or maybe the next day). On the other hand, holy crap, the haters couldn't fall out of the woodwork fast enough to start shitting all over it. My personal take on it? I think the commercial is a wretched pile of horse manure. Despite how truly "punny" the red box imagery is,* and they are *fairly* iconic, they also make the entire CrossFit "thing" seem pre-packaged and assembly line. Given that most of the pre-existing confusion about CrossFit is based on the unfounded assumption that there is no scaling or substitutions, and that its a one-size-fits-all approach, I personally kind of hate any things that could feed into that misconception.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and for what it's worth, if someone told me that the decision was made to actively ignore the idiot haters and just go for it, I would actually appreciate that. I would even support it. However, after the questionable image decision, (which lasts for most of the commercial, by the way), comes the 10-15 seconds of utter shitting-of-the-sheets. Not-Unfit-Hipster-Man opens the box and is treated to a hip, fast, exciting, MTV-generation jump-cut medley of insanely fit people doing insanely intense workouts. What's wrong with that? Well, from the beginning, one of the main points of CrossFit's infinitely scalable workouts is that ANYONE can do it, from (yes, ok) the strongest, fastest athletes on the planet all the way down to you, me, and our parents and kids. Funny. I don't see any of *us* in that commercial. While I might be impressed by the commercial, I don't feel represented. At all. In fact, after 3 years of CrossFitting, I'm actually feeling a little LESS "CrossFitty" as a result of this.

Reebok:CrossFit followed it up with this much improved attempt:

Again, only the strong, fast, and beautiful are represented. Its impressive and striking, but its in NO way representative of everything that CrossFit can be. And AGAIN, having somewhat left themselves open to criticism. Beautiful case in point: Fitness Lonnie.

Sheer poetry. But, on the other hand, once upon a time, the people in charge knew how to make a commercial.

 Two words (sorry Mom): FUCK YEAH. (If I could make that blink, I would.) I want to do THAT. It looks hard, but rewarding. There are insanely impressive athletes and AVERAGE JOES, working out side-by-side. There's yelling, intensity, coaching, support, and COMMUNITY. On top of that, go to youtube and search for "What is CrossFit". There are a metric crap-ton of videos created by the various affiliates, each one showing their own individual character and traits.

So, while I personally think that the *business* part of the Reebok:CrossFit crossover is pretty impressive, I'm left a bit cold by their marketing attempts. Their clothing line is boring to look upon, but according the athletes being given lots of free Reebok gear, its insanely comfortable to work-out in, and, its possible (if unlikely) that they may even improve performance. The co-sponsorship of the CrossFit Games got them onto ESPN 2, which is kind of awesome. Here again, only the shiny awesometastic athletes get featured on the games, so while they're fun to watch, and in a few years, I would LOVE to compete at the Masters level (against the aging but still awesometastic current champions), they still don't really reflect on the other 99% of us out there.

*CrossFit gyms tend to be devoid of equipment, compared to the average $10/month gym which is just loaded with equipment, wall to wall. With the comparative lack of equipment, a CrossFit gym looks more like an empty box. Get it? Isn't the red box imagery awesome in that light?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.