MATTE Projects is a creative agency and production company based in New York working with contemporary, iconic brands. Recently they were asked by Pure Barre to develop a new brand campaign that reflects who today’s Pure Barre client is, starting with a video for the brand’s website.

Principals Brett Kincaid, based in New York, and Jos Rewkiewicz, based in London, talked with us by phone about what it takes to successfully revamp a brand by adapting current styles while celebrating its history.


If you look at where Pure Barre franchises are located, you will find them in more suburban areas with less than immediate cool factor. That’s not to say that the culture can’t be fresh, cool and interesting. Is that what you brought to the table? Yes. The Pure Barre culture is alive and thriving in NYC with 500 locations. We knew we could rebuild the reputation and visibility of the brand.

You created a film to kick off the campaign. Is it more of an awareness piece or more for content?  For us, there was one big problem. Pure Barre is obviously one of the most established fitness studios with  500 doors, but there was a big brand perception problem, and we wanted to change the way people see Pure Barre. The film is very much an awareness campaign first and foremost, but was also created to re-energize the whole franchise and to push both the people in the brand and the consumer to be energized by the new vision and to hop on the movement that we are trying to create for them.

What is today’s vision for the brand versus in 2001 when the brand was founded? Pure Barre has been focused on growing the PB community and the empowerment aspect of the workouts. Today, we are joining PB to create a message that the studios are more than just a place where you go to exercise. They are spaces that empower you, giving you confidence in your everyday life to achieve goals that don’t have to be physical. They can be winning in business, going after what you want, acting on something that you never had the opportunity to do before. It’s very much about using the Pure Barre exercises and technique to empower people in their daily life.

Did you have creative license to repackage the brand?  We had worked with Pure Barre on past projects, and with this project there was a definite business objective tied to a creative problem that needed to be solved. They put it into our hands to think about the business from square one, and they let us push the boundaries to repackage the brand.

The video is powerful. Yes, Pure Barre agrees! The idea was to communicate an emotion and to get people amped up about Pure Barre, almost like a rallying cry campaign, which is very different from everything PB has been doing up until now—which has been all about educating people on what the PB technique is. And now that people are more conscious about PB and other types of exercise, what really differentiates one from the other is the emotion and the power you get from the exercises. This was really important for us to communicate in the campaign.

Pure Barre is a franchise business and each franchise offers its own Pure Barre flavor for the community they serve. Does the film embody the PB community as a whole where the average PB client can relate to the new brand messaging? That has been central in our conversations with Pure Barre. They are a licensing business, From very early on PB and the franchise owners have been involved in the conversation. The rebranding was very much a workshop with everyone finding something that was a common ground between all of the licensees and the business model.

All of the 10 people casted in the video and in the pre-campaign are Pure Barre studio owners, teachers or clients. That was a very conscience decision not to go the most instagramable model but to portray the authentic reality of Pure Barre and how aspirational the people actually are that appear in the film. When the licensees saw that we were not trying to gloss over the message but truly wanted to represent the community, both teachers and students, that is what got everyone on board and what allowed us to speak to the whole community.

Why Black & White? Pure Barre let us be very creative with the campaign. We felt that Black and White would be more powerful, more friendly as opposed to color as a treatment and also with the red highlights that you see in the film, could be very ownerable for Pure Barre long-term. We also tried with the treatment in the film to take the class outside the Pure Barre studio, creating an abstract statement like a blank canvas. We wanted a film that would inspire each studio owner to evolve their own space and to really inspire people to create that new Pure Barre with us.

The 10 models in the film are very fit.  How were they selected? Body type was selected mostly around what the ultimate Pure Barre body is—athletic, lean, muscular—and to show how your body becomes sharp through the repetition of the exercises but very elegant at the same time.

The bodies that we selected to be in the video were more aspirational of the Pure Barre technique as opposed to representing a range of bodies that exist in the Pure Barre classes. In the casting process, we found that the Pure Barre customer was very diverse, and we wanted to break the image that people have in their mind about PB and show that PB is actually a lot more diverse. The PB clientele is 95 percent women. Including a man in the campaign represents the ratio we found.

Can we look forward to more? Yes! We are still working on the campaign changing the engagement of the customers on-line, video-on-demand, social media; it will be a constant evolution. We hope to introduce more people to the Pure Barre brand.

Photos and video courtesy Pure Barre
To learn more about Pure Barre and last week’s opening of their 500th franchise, go here.