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Behind the Scenes

Equinox $6 Million Ad Campaign Less Edgy, Still Edgy

Just in time for the New Year, Equinox has announced its new advertising campaign for 2014.

We first got wind of this in July when an Equinox spokesperson told Club Industry that the company was developing a new ad campaign. That was in response to our story about a racy Equinox billboard that was taken down in Bethesda, MD. The New York Post followed up with a more formal statement from Equinox about the new campaign in October.

Are the new ads less provocative than the Terry Richardson campaign of the past three years? Yes. Are they still a little provocative? Yes.

Before the company announced its "Equinox Made Me Do It" campaign on Monday, The New York Times gave us a hint on Christmas Day about the upcoming ads in an article titled "Choosing to Be Naughty." (Those crazy kids at The Times!)

"Print ads, with the headline 'Equinox Made Me Do It,' show fit, attractive models transgressing in numerous ways," wrote Andrew Adam Newman. "In one, a man in business attire hurls himself over a barbed wire-topped fence; in another, a woman in a skimpy bathing suit is being removed from a country club by two security guards; in another, a woman is looking through a peephole; and in yet another, a couple wearing only shoes and apparently lit by car headlights is running away from the camera."

The Chicago Business Journal shows one other ad of a well-dressed guy with a black eye. All righty, then!

So the new ads are not the over-sexualized photos that have created a stir over the past few years, but it's obvious Equinox still wants to be a brand with an edge. The ads are scheduled for release on social media on New Year's Day, on billboards and other outdoor signage on Jan. 6 and in magazines on Jan. 13, according to The Times.

The new campaign was created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, and the photos were shot by Robert Wyatt. The Times reported Equinox will spend $6 million on the campaign.

"For this campaign, we wanted a photographic approach that had a strong sense of narrative and realism," Stuart Jennings, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy, said in a statement. "We chose Robert Wyatt as the photographer because he's a storyteller who injects a fashion sensibility into all his work. His ability to capture real, candid moments rather than overly posed situations made him a perfect fit for this campaign."

Did you catch that "fashion sensibility" line? It reminds me of what Bianca Kosoy, former executive creative director at Equinox, told The Times last year: "I never work out. I think fitness is a fraud. That's why I try to make it look like fashion."

The more things change, the more they (sort of) stay the same.

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