The Gym partners with creative agency Who Wot Why, production company Dark Energy, and music and sound company String and Tins to launch its first ever UK-wide TVC. In the humorous 60-second film, So I Can, a broad range of people share their motivations for getting fit to celebrate the diversity of ordinary gym-goers.
The spot is complemented by an upbeat house soundtrack and features various The Gym users as they declare their reasons for exercising. Gym-goers include powerlifter Syeda Bukhari, who lifts wearing her hijab, and Felicia Cantone, who is battling cancer, in a bid to break stereotypes associated with working out. Directed by Sean Thompson, So I Can parodically pairs visuals of everyday gym users with a serious sounding up-tempo soundtrack whilst actors comically share motivations such as 'So I can vex my ex', 'So I can see my willy' and 'So I can live to a hundred'. The comical narrative is weaved together as gym-based sounds are seamlessly incorporated into the soundtrack.
The campaign is the first time The Gym has aired a TVC across the UK. The rarity of gym brands advertising on national TV makes the film category-defining. As experts in their field, String and Tins were brought on board to craft the audio for the sound-led film.
The spot’s audio was integral to achieving its motivational yet humorous message which raised important considerations for crafting the right sound, says Jim Stewart, Composer and Sound Designer at String and Tins: “The music had to be a bassline-driven house track with industrial production quality that wouldn’t be out of place in a real gym. On top of that, it had to be sparse enough to allow for vocal motif – ‘So I Can’ – to be punchy and clear. A fundamental aspect of the sound was that the track could not be comedic as that came from the visuals and dialogue and their juxtaposition with the serious-sounding house music.”
Creating the sonic world of a gym for the listener was key to emphasising the film’s dialogue. String and Tins achieved this by incorporating sounds commonly associated with gyms, such as weights clanging and zips being fastened, into the beat of track. Jim explains: “Finding a balance between placing metallic gym sounds and fun musical elements in the soundscape was key. At points, the harsh clang of weights dropping set the right tone. However, in other moments, we experimented with more musical effects like wobbling synth notes for the bicep tense and record scratches for the zips. Working back and forth with the editor lead to naturally musical elements, such as claps and clicks, being sequenced visually, as if a DJ were manipulating the sound and visuals together.”
String and Tins’ presence on set was crucial in ensuring the right sounds were captured to later be mixed into the soundtrack. Kaspar Broyd, Sound Recordist at String and Tins, captured a range of gym-based sounds as well as vocals of the gym-goers who appeared in the film. Importantly, this meant an authentic delivery of their ‘So I Can’ motivations.
Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens was also brought in to provide the final voice over, delivering the line ‘be more confident’ mid-spot.
So I Can runs national on TV, Online, Social and OOH.