Provocative? Please. Equinox Ads Just Mimic Other 'Shockers'

Fallon Effort Is Cheap Posing as Provocative, Soft Porn Posing as Self-Actualization

By Published on .

The new campaign for Equinox gyms is one, if we are to believe the press release, "like no other."

Yeah, sure it is.

Title: Happily Ever
Marketer: Equinox
Agency: Fallon Worldwide
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Equinox's campaign is cheap posing as provocative, sophomoric posing as sophisticated, soft porn posing as self-actualization.
In fact, the campaign from Fallon Worldwide is like many, many others. It is every perverse Helmut Newton fashion layout meets every Benetton shock poster ever made. It's cheap posing as provocative, sophomoric posing as sophisticated, soft porn posing as self-actualization.

It's also pretty much irrelevant to the category, populated as it is with anorexic tarts with boob jobs, such that even the most ludicrously optimistic New Year's resolver -- male or female -- can't imagine the models' bodies as relating to their own lives.

Yeah, we know, we know: There's a thin line between the annual delusion that this year will be different and actual fantasy. But for one thing, who says everybody's fantasy is to be trapped with severe-looking harlequins in an arty photographer's studio/dungeon? And for another thing, the tagline may be "Happily ever," but if you don't know Equinox is a fitness center, you'd never, ever, ever, ever figure it out from these ads.

But why linger on generalities when the particulars are so eloquent? Let's examine all the brilliant ways in which this campaign breaks through the layers of fat to our inner pervert.

1. It doesn't show a gym or any actual fitness taking place, because that's too obvious and soooo been done before. But to build the creative "strategy" on flaunting sexuality -- now that's innovation!

2. One ad depicts three young nuns (in tons of makeup) gaping at a nude male model -- à la the infamous Benetton ad with a priest kissing the nun. "I don't like to just shock -- there's a message here," said Creative Director Bianca Kosoy. "We're elevating the fit, naked body to deity status -- and creating a fantasy that speaks to both men and women." And that message she speaks of? Simple: Nobody's religion is too sacred to blaspheme.

3. To celebrate fitness for senior Americans, we see a lady celebrating her 100th birthday (based on the cake candles, not on her low-cut dress and entourage of three young male prostitutes.) For reasons of taste and propriety, only one of them is licking her leg.

4. It places value on natural fitness vs. the Botox/lipo/scalpel kind, by fitting four otherwise indistinguishable lingerie models in spike heels and tortured poses -- but three of them have nip-and-tuck surgery maps Magic Markered on them. The fourth does not. That's why the Adonis in the Speedo is feeding grapes to her. "It's about how you live your life," Kosoy tells us.

Sure. If you're a Bratz doll.

The campaign isn't shocking necessarily for its imagery; it looks pretty much like every subway poster in Europe. It's shocking because it imagines itself to be some sort of creative departure when it is, in fact, just extruded from the Art Director Machine. On top of that, it fails at what it most strives for: sexual frisson.

Sorry, but bending a contortionist over backward and using his belly as a lobster plate is not erotic, no matter how many "Dangerous Liaisons" extras you surround him with. It's just silly. And maybe a little bit creepy.

So, come to think of it, maybe this effort from Fallon is a fitness campaign like no other. We doubt its like shall be seen again (happily) ever.
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