2016_COMMIT_IMAGES_CULT

Equinox campaign portrays ‘modern times’ not treadmills

High-end fitness chain launches a global effort as it expands in Canada

2016_COMMIT_IMAGES_BREASTFEEDERHigh-end fitness chain Equinox is hoping to lure more sweaty bodies to its gyms with another fashion magazine photography-style campaign that provokes people to take a stand on issues ranging from sexuality and lifestyle choices to women’s rights.

The new campaign, called “Commit to something,” is being rolled out across traditional, digital and social media – targeting the fitness crowd in Equinox’s key markets across North America and the United Kingdom.

The launch comes at a time of year when many people buy gym memberships as part of a New Year’s resolution to get fit, and as Equinox expands its presence across Canada. The chain, which has 77 locations across North America including one each in Toronto and London, is opening a second location in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighbourhood in a few weeks. It also plans to open its third Canadian location in downtown Vancouver this fall.

The campaign, produced with global agency Wieden+Kennedy, includes seven provocative photographs taken by well-known fashion photographer Steven Klein that address “socially relevant topics,” according to Equinox chief marketing officer Carlos Becil.

One picture features actress and model Lydia Hearst breastfeeding in public, while another features Mixed Martial Arts fighter Alan Jouban as a male-cheerleading champion “who wasn’t threatened by a stereotype and dedicated himself to winning in his own way,” Equinox says.

“We wanted to step back and not talk about commitment through fitness, but as a lifestyle brand – to talk about it as life,” Becil tells Marketing. “Commitment is about a call to action, about taking a stand and going all in.”


Equinox says it chose Klein to shoot the campaign based on his reputation as a “fearless and defiant creative talent.” Klein has photographed such celebrities as Brad Pitt, Madonna and Kate Moss and his work has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, W and Interview.

“It is the responsibility of advertising to communicate modern times and social issues. This campaign addresses today’s issues and social commentaries, which is a powerful approach instead of portraying people as superficial objects with no narrative,” Klein stated in the release announcing the new Equinox campaign.

The ads appear on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as some billboards in cities where Equinox has clubs such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as its international locations in London and Toronto. Becil says there may be a print component to the campaign in future, but no final decisions have been made.

The latest campaign follows a previous provoking ad blitz from the fitness chain called “Equinox made me do it,” which also featured models in bold postures positioned in various places nowhere near a workout machine. One showed a man wearing a woman’s business suit without the blouse, while another showed a woman holding an electric razor surrounded by her hair after shaving her head.

“That’s by design,” says Becil, who describes Equinox as less of a gym and more of a “luxury lifestyle brand.”

“We are pretty unique in our category,” Becil says. “We would never shoot an ad campaign with someone on a treadmill.”

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