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Hydrow x MGM Amazon’s ‘The Boys In The Boat’

Entered in Fitness, Health, & Wellness


Hydrow’s team found inspiration in MGM’s ‘The Boys in the Boat’ — a tale of resilience and teamwork, unwavering spirit and triumph over adversity, and one that resonates deeply as a company and speaks to the power of the sport of rowing. With the announcement of the bestselling novel's adaptation into a major motion picture, directed by George Clooney, Hydrow was eager to leverage the film's influence and bridge the relationship between film enthusiasts and rowing aficionados. This was done through exclusive content that immerses their members in the same waters as the storied 1936 Olympic champions.


A custom movie trailer aired following the MGM ‘The Boys in the Boat’ trailer release, and aimed to captivate audiences with the compelling narrative of the iconic rowing team while showcasing the innovative technology and immersive experience Hydrow offers. With the trailer, Hydrow endeavors to blend the rich history and spirit of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ with the camaraderie behind their modern-day Hydrow athletes. 


Hydrow aimed to emphasize the accessibility and convenience of indoor rowing as a means of achieving health goals and experiencing the thrill of rowing from the comfort of one's home. The content seeks to convey how Hydrow's equipment allows users to connect with the sport's heritage while embracing modern advancements in training and performance tracking. Through a combination of storytelling, nostalgia, and cutting-edge technology, the trailer motivates viewers to start their fitness journey, honoring 'The Boys in the Boat' legacy.



Rowing has been orbiting the Hollywood zeitgeist for years, from scenes in famous movies to a series of independent films that zero in on the sport. Now, for the first time, critically acclaimed actor, director and Academy Award winner – George Clooney – brought the inspirational true story about the 1936 University of Washington rowing team to the big screen on Christmas 2023. Based on the #1 New York Times bestselling non-fiction novel written by Daniel James Brown, ‘The Boys in the Boat’ follows a group of underdogs at the height of the Great Depression as they are thrust into the spotlight and take on elite rivals from around the world. 


As a fan of the novel, Hydrow CEO and founder Bruce Smith was determined for Hydrow to be an exclusive partner and to leverage this opportunity to connect film fans to rowing, and rowing fans to the gripping story of the sport. To underscore his genuine appreciation for the novel, he has every new employee at Hydrow read the book. 


This project was achieved through the following strategy elements: 

  1. Leading up to the film opening, Hydrow released multiple digital and social ad campaigns as well as a custom movie trailer, featuring historical scenes from the movie and Hydrow’s cinematic vision for the future of the sport. As part of the ongoing marketing efforts, Hydrow also partnered with Amazon to release advertisements for the movie available for rent on Amazon Prime.
  2. In tandem with the film’s theatrical release, Hydrow released exclusive ‘The Boys in the Boat’-themed workouts for its members with original content shot on-site at the University of Washington and features all-star UW alumni. 
  3. Hydrow hosted a private advanced screening of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ for press, influencers and VIPs at NYC’s Regal Union Square as part of its broader 360 marketing campaign. The Hydrow Rower in the theater added another touchpoint for press to see/experience the machine in person, along with the opportunity to engage with Hydrow Athletes Mike Dostal and Dani Hansen. To extend the awareness with Regal, Hydrow conducted a giveaway with the entire theater chain (along with all other major US theater chains). 
  4. Establishing Hydrow's notable presence at Head of the Charles, the world's largest rowing regatta, in collaboration with US Rowing by screening the custom trailer to regatta attendees.
  5. Full partnership press campaign.


One of the challenges the team faced during the project was the task of producing mirrored content alongside a film directed by George Clooney, all while operating on a tight budget. Not only did Hydrow need to maintain the pace and quality expected in the shadow of a major Hollywood production, but also had to navigate the financial constraints that accompany an independent trailer. Hydrow embraced the challenge leveraging their team’s creativity, resilience, and resourcefulness to stretch every dollar without compromising on the quality of their work. Also, for authenticity’s sake, the Hydrow team shot on the exact waters portrayed in the iconic story, whilst Hollywood chose more affordable shooting locales.


Overall, the success of Hydrow's ‘The Boys in the Boat’ trailer can be attributed to its effective storytelling, integration of history and modern technology, inspiring message, collaborative partnership, and high production quality. The trailer effectively captured the compelling narrative of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ and by highlighting themes of perseverance, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence, it resonated with audiences emotionally and stood toe-to-toe with the George Clooney-directed film.


Hydrow's continuous collaboration with MGM and Amazon showcases a successful branding strategy, seamlessly embedding the brand into cultural moments. By innovating and engaging with relevant events, Hydrow creates lasting content, inspiring customers and shaping the future of e-comm through immersive experiences


The Hydrow x ‘The Boys in the Boat’ trailer resulted in:

  1. Over half of Hydrow members participated in ‘The Boys in the Boat’-themed classes in the first week with 90% completing the sessions by the end of 2023.
  2. Hydrow sales were up exponentially year-over-year for December and January - key marketing months for the film.
  3. Engagement on Hydrow’s Instagram jumped 30% over the month of December with several all-time high posts engaging thousands of Hydrow fans. 
  4. Hydrow hosted an advanced screening of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ with over 41 members of the press and their guests.
  5. ‘The Boys in the Boat’ grossed over $50 million at the box office, and is still in theaters now, surpassing all goals and projections.


Video for Hydrow x MGM Amazon’s ‘The Boys In The Boat’

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