|A Gym Gets a Bad Lift to 2012
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
Leave it to a place meant to build muscle to mess up an advertising campaign. Equinox, a "high-end" chain of gyms, is facing much scrutiny of its members and social media followers due to its latest advertising campaign. The campaign features built gentlemen, but the ladies are slender models. Not the "slender" that one would find in a gym, these female models lack muscle tone, any kind of muscle definition, and one could even go as far as to say they lack nutrition.
Equinox has built the reputation of having its gym ads look like fashion editorials, which is actually pretty cool. But to majestically fail on a campaign like this is confusing. Note the two ads that follow.
The actual photography and art is sleek and resembles that of American Apparel (minus the soft-core, pre-teen porn innuendo). But then you remember that this isn't for a fashion brand — it's for a gym. We recognize where Equinox was trying to go; it wants to position the gym as being a part of everyday life for the sophisticated. It appears that Equinox doesn't want just anybody coming to its establishment; they know who they want to attract. But though the men are cut, the women are models. We're not saying that models don't work out — some probably do — but it would be startling to see this glam on a treadmill at 7:30 in the morning. Based on the outcry of members, Equinox's audience would agree.
Equinox doesn't have to change the style of its advertising. It just needs to add people in it who members would actually see at the gym. You know, make it realistic. There are plenty of fit female models out there that Equinox can choose.
There is a discrepancy that is thrown into the limelight from this campaign, which society views as the idea that going to the gym can make you (and by 'you,' we mean ladies) glamorous. Was that what Equinox was going for? Hopefully not; to give them the benefit of the doubt, we'll say that Equinox was hoping to prove that the beautiful are beautiful and slender because they go to the gym. Is there a difference? Perhaps.
People go to the gym to get fit, stay fit, or to increase their performance. The gym helps people feel good about themselves, and research is continuously showing data that highlights the physical and mental benefits of a regular workout routine. Equinox's blunder of showcasing women that do not fit the "working out" archetype can do more harm than good to its membership sales.
Want to attract a fit, yet classy, membership? Ditch the runway model.
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