Q&A WITH/Aly Grubb, Marketing Director at The Fox Theatre || Old is the New Cool
Aly is a passionate seeker of all things unique and genuine - music, food, art, people, travel - she's always down to uncover something with a different vibe; an awe. It's her relentless desire to share that sense of awe with others that has landed her in the most perfectly fitting role as the Marketing Director of Atlanta's beloved and iconic Fox Theatre. As a client and member of the WITH/family, I wanted to talk to Aly to share her perspective on how something that has been a part of our city for 90 years can still rock that sense of awe each and every night.
BB: Aly, as a marketer, you have a really unique role - it's much different than those of us on the brand or agency side. Tell us a little about your mission at the Fox and what that means for your role day to day.
AG: Marketing an entertainment venue and keeping it “on the map” as they say, requires you to focus on the WHY much more than the WHAT. As one of our board members most eloquently put it, “performers, exhibits, musicians all come and go, but community is what’s sustainable” so it’s Atlanta’s community that I focus on reaching, entertaining, and serving every day. Remaining accountable to the city that saved us is vital to our success.
BB: The Fox has a really big year coming up. It's celebrating its 90th year. What does this mean for this iconic venue?
AG: This is such a milestone for the Fox. For a 1929 historic theatre to not only be turning 90 but also be ranked as one of the top 3 highest grossing theatres WORLDWIDE is incredible. I think it really says something…about the place we hold in people’s hearts.
Our guests have a choice as to where they go to get entertained and for whatever reason (I could name a few) they choose to walk through our doors again and again. Those four walls, after 89 years of service, deserve the right to talk. As we head into our 90th year, you’ll get to hear firsthand the Fox’s story in a new exciting campaign that we’re rolling out. Keep an eye out for it if you haven’t seen or heard it already!
BB: So, 90 years young. What is the secret sauce behind causing something so historic to remain relevant in today's world? How do you make old so cool?
AG: Well…you keep old OLD actually. I actually hate to use the word old in reference to the Fox. We’re seasoned. Aged like a fine wine. Unlike the new kids on the block, we’ve got wisdom and street cred (if you will) which isn’t something you can build…you have to earn that over time. Our age is our strength. That sounds counterintuitive, but honestly, we’re relevant today because you can’t duplicate what we have. There’s just no comparison. In a sea of new, new, new, what’s more comforting than walking into nostalgia? New has no soul and as you know, soul is everything.
BB: Ok, let's talk about that soul - that old soul. What else in Atlanta has that old soul that you're talking about? What's another one-of-one just like the Fox?
AG: That’s a tough one. Sure, there are other historic venues in Atlanta that resonate with folks but there’s just something about the Fox’s independence that gives it almost this human-like identity. She’s in a class all of her own in my opinion. That said - the Earl will always be one of my top 5 favorite rooms.
BB: Let's shift the conversation to Atlanta. As someone who lives and breathes a timeless piece of Atlanta culture, what else are you seeing out there that's cool in our city? What do people need to know about?
AG: I’m a bit of a foodie so I love checking out whatever’s new in Atlanta’s restaurant scene. Some tried and true spots for me are Fortune Cookie for Chinese, Victory for slushies and sammies, Fox Bros BBQ, Café Bombay, Little Rey’s, and when I really want to spruce it up you really can NOT beat Atlas.
BB: Favorite trend right now
AG: I’m a podcast chick. Almost exclusively during my commutes with some faves being Armchair Expert w/ Dax Shepard, the Daily, Disgraceland, and the Breakfast Club. In the office, Spotify is my jam. I’m always finding new music with their “made for you” playlists and I kinda just live on those. The algorithms know me so well.
BB: Best show you've ever seen at the Fox:
AG: My Morning Jacket 2015 shows and of course… Prince’s last show.
BB: Outside of the foodie scene, what's hot in Atlanta right now, in your opinion?
AG: Ha, I’m so NOT the right person to ask this to. Again though, food and music will always be hot in Atlanta. The festival scene particularly remains pretty robust: Shaky Knees, ONEMusic, A3C, Candler Park, ATL PRIDE, Imagine, Decatur Music, Chomp and Stop, Taste of Atlanta, there’s something for everyone to get out and enjoy year round. I don’t think we’re a very “trendy” city. We stick with what works and try and raise the bar every year.
BB: Favorite/Wildest Fox story:
AG: Witnessing President Carter and Bob Dylan just kind of kicking it and reflecting about Live Aid and the olden days. Aesthetically they couldn’t have been more different, (Carter in his pressed khakis and navy blue turtleneck and Dylan doused in more layered silks and scarves than Steven Tyler and Keith Richards combined) and yet they were both riding the same wave. So in tune with each other. Pretty neat to see how music drops those superficial barriers and unites us all.