SoulCycle has had it with the pandemic and doesn't care who knows it. Before the pandemic, the boutique fitness brand was known for its long waiting lists, high-priced classes lit by candles, and among the most sweat-drenched workouts available.
It's introducing a new campaign called "F*ck it, Let's Ride" from agency VCCP NY. Evelyn Webster, CEO of the Equinox-owned brand, explains the strategy.
Marketing Daily: What's the origin of the campaign?
Evelyn Webster: We have been living our lives in some version of lockdown over the last 27 months. And whilst the human spirit is resilient, it's also extremely impatient. We felt that there was never a more important time to reclaim joy.
So this very audacious statement -- “f*ck it” -- speaks to this overwhelming sense we are getting from our community. There's this pent-up energy to get back out into the world.
The campaign, one of our biggest in years, also captures the energy and heat of the SoulCycle experience. And it captures the spirit of our rockstar instructors.
Marketing Daily: Do you worry that it will hit people as if you mean to say, "F*ck the pandemic, I'm just going to do what I want and screw the rest of you?"
Webster: No. This is a call to arms. Let's move on. Let's have fun. Let's put the last 28 months behind us.
Of course, there are those who understandably have some residual concerns about the pandemic. But many of us across the country feel strongly that now is the time for us to start living our best lives.
We know it's not everyone's cup of tea. They will continue to ride at home, and we actively support that with digital content. But this is for the very significant majority of our existing riders who want to move forward.
Marketing Daily: Is the campaign directed at people who have ridden at SoulCycle before?
Webster: It will speak to some of our riders who have not returned since the beginning of the pandemic. But we think it's broader and will speak to anyone that puts their heart into fitness.
Marketing Daily: It features a number of your star instructors. Why?
Webster: With 60 people in each class at 85 studios in the country, these are the people who generate the power and energy from the podium. And they helped shape the campaign and were in the room as we built the brief.
Marketing Daily: Where are ads running?
Webster: It's a robust paid strategy, including out-of-home, digital and connected TV.
Marketing Daily: What can you tell us about recent revenue trends?
Webster: The pandemic had a very significant impact on our business. At one point in time, 100% of our studios were closed. And people started riding with us at home, on home bikes. And they kept on buying our apparel. But it's coming back.
Marketing Daily: Has it reached prepandemic levels?
Webster: Not quite. But we expect to see most riders back by the end of the year.
Marketing Daily: What's your typical member like?
Webster: I spend a lot of time with our riders, so it's hard to generalize. But overall, they are younger, affluent and globally conscious. They're very active and very purpose-driven. More are women, and the average age is 28.
Marketing Daily: How did the pandemic change their workout habits?
Webster: They kept up their cardio. And many of them added strength training.
Marketing Daily: Who do you consider your primary competitor: Peloton?
Webster: No. We're competing for time and attention against other verticals, and because people see us as a kind of emotional release, we're not necessarily competing with other workouts. We're also entertainment. In a way, we compete against Netflix.