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Look better naked, have better sex, lose your “fat ass.” Membership gyms get it: In a culture where many people — of all genders — struggle with poor body image, advertising that preys on our perceived shortcomings can be pretty effective. But could it be that gyms, or at least their ad campaigns, are evolving?
There’s Crunch’s tagline, “No Judgments,” and Planet Fitness’ motto, “Judgment Free Zone,” both of which promise safe spaces for anyone to sweat. Equinox’s new campaign changes the dialogue still further — by hinting that a life of risqué adventures and sexy hijinks await those who join.
The one-minute video, “Equinox Made Me Do It," suggests that people who work out get fit and do awesome stuff. Whether it’s the increased confidence, the endorphin rush, or both, the result of looking good is feeling good — and when we feel good, Equinox insinuates, we’re psyched to take risks and try new things Endorphins: the basis of pleasure? C H Hawkes. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1992 April; 55(4): 247–250. Longitudinal examination of the exercise and self-esteem model in middle-aged women. Elavsky S. Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 2010 December;32(6):862-80. A longitudinal assessment of the links between physical activity and self-esteem in early adolescent non-Hispanic females. Schmalz DL, Deane GD, Birch LL, Davison KK. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007 December;41(6):559-565..
Of course, this ad campaign is doing its part to further the idea that normative attractiveness is an important goal to strive for. But could the campaign’s emphasis on fitness as the key to an exciting life signal that exercise is starting to resonate as something that’s more about personal fulfillment than getting a bikini bod or six-pack abs? Our fingers are crossed.
What do you think of Equinox’s new campaign? Does it make you want to get fitter? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.