There’s a new fitness club in New York, and creatives from top shops like Droga5, Anomaly and R/GA have joined. And they didn’t just buy a monthly membership—they quit their agency jobs and jumped ship.
That sort of move might seem like a head-scratcher to some, but Performix House is not just a gym. The company describes itself as an innovative sports performance and lifestyle brand, a SoHo House-meets-Equinox for fitness fanatics. It also includes a content studio with a full-service in-house production team that “can shoot members’ and trainers’ workouts and provide them with high-quality, epic content for sharing,” said Matt Hesse, CEO and founder of Performix parent company Corr-Jensen.
Hesse told Adweek he began building out Performix in 2014 as “something that would disrupt a very stale and stagnant space that was perceived as being exclusive for body builders and the muscle-obsessed.” Corr-Jensen started with a line of nutrition products, which it still sells under names such as Ab Cuts and ANS.
“I wanted to create an experiential brand house on the content side, but I also wanted to give trainers that best possible space to train their clients,” Hesse said.
Performix offers everything from mixed martial arts to plyometrics to high-intensity interval training and recovery treatments.
Hesse said with the help of his ex-agency talent, Performix recruited 35 of the most influential trainers in New York (including Gabe Snow, featured in the workout video above), with a combined social media reach of nearly 50 million. Hesse is working on building an elite member base (members must apply to join), targeting additional influencers and celebrities who can then lean on the Performix production studio to make personalized social media posts that also leverage the company’s brands.
Performix is designed for hard-core workout enthusiasts, and Hesse aims to keep its member base small so as to foster a “special” environment. Current members include American pro soccer player and model Lance Parker.
Regarding the agency hires, Hesse said, “Agency people work on multiple challenges, move fast, solve problems and can be scrappy.”
Donny Jensen, vice president and head of brand marketing at Corr-Jensen, told Adweek he was “at a point where I was more interested in the brand side” when Hesse hired him away from R/GA in April. The strategy director formerly worked at Droga5, KBS and McCann.
On the agency side, he didn’t “always get the full picture,” Jensen said. “I always had a curiosity to own everything from end to end.”
Aside from Jensen’s “lustrous beard,” Hesse said he was drawn to the creative because the two “both think alike.” He cited R/GA’s 2015 “Take on TJ” Nike campaign, which used social learning to create a fictitious digital persona designed to motivate teens via sponsored tweets from pro athletes and influencers.
“Sports and fitness have always followed me around advertising,” Jensen told Adweek, noting that he also worked on Under Armour while at Droga5.
For the time being, Performix will focus on promoting its own brands, but Hesse said “taking on external clients” is a consideration.