In May, rap star Rick Ross gave an interview in which he credited his significant weight loss to "this shit called CrossFit." The next thing he said has sparked a social media sensation in the world of hardcore exercisers:
"I call it 'RossFit' - it's called RossFit now."
People got excited - really excited. The corresponding hashtag, #RossFit, has permeated the Instagram and Twitter world. As with all well-meaning organic social movements, RossFit has reached a certain level of recognizability and relevant companies are attempting to monetize, much like the ubiquitous social media #selfie has inspired everything from workout clothing to board games.
Case in Point
Beast Worx, a CrossFit apparel company, recently opened a pre-order for their new RossFit line. The design is an unmistakable parody of the Reebok CrossFit logo with its Impact typeface, white text on black background and the pear icon (referencing Ross's claim to now eat "pears ‘n' shit like that.") with the Reebok triangle shape cut out.
CrossFit is notorious for protecting it's brand, so the Beast Worx crew may get some pushback for the artwork - but as far as we know, RossFit has yet to be trademarked by anyone, including Ross.
Rick Ross' Instagram account has almost 5x the followers of CrossFit HQ (2.8 million vs. 606K at the time of this blog) - so they made the right move in choosing to collaborate. Had a smaller celebrity claimed to "rename" the brand of CrossFit, things may have gone a different way. As it is, CrossFit has embraced the attention and is now working to leverage the publicity.
A 25-minute documentary posted earlier this month on the CrossFit HQ YouTube Channel implies that a bigger RossFit brand push is coming. The video, entitled "RossFit", features CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro and celebrity athlete Garrett Fisher and is set at Ross's Miami studio house. In an attempt to confirm the authenticity of the story and captivate viewers, the video remains completely un-bleeped and un-blurred. F-bombs are dropped before the opening credits and weed is smoked unapologetically. From the standpoint of Ross's brand, this is not shocking, especially to anyone who has seen his increasingly popular Funny or Die video.
The truth is, CrossFit has never claimed to be wholesome. It’s gritty and real and even despite its meteoric rise in popularity, CrossFit HQ’s has kept their original rudimentary and bootstrapped website in an effort to convey, “we’re just like you guys.” If you’ve ever been in a CrossFit affiliate gym, you know it’s not uncommon for music laced with profanity to be blaring over the slamming barbells and grunting cliental. CrossFitters aren't soft or easily offended. The pervasive mentality is "we can take it." But despite all of this, at the end of the day CrossFit is still promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle. The least they could have done was cut the blunt scene.
We should be clear: the two brands are not inviting one another to conform, and we, the audience, are not being asked to take sides. RossFit exists in a world of "if you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em" fun and free promotion. That said, the CrossFit’s goal of brand alignment and celebrity collaboration could have been achieved in about 18-minutes less footage.
Around minute 14:00 of the CrossFit HQ video, intentionally or not, Ross hits on a point that may be the single most exciting aspect of CrossFit besides the health benefits: the community. Although it's clear Ross works out from home with his already established crew rather than in an affiliate surrounded by strangers, he makes a comment about how Garrett Fisher - his trainer - has become his “homeboy.”
"That's the beauty of it," says Ross "there's people from different walks of life but we all have the same common goals - you just want to enjoy your life and compete at the highest level." And we couldn’t agree more with that.