4 Finalists Shape Up for Equinox

NEW YORK Equinox Fitness Club has identified four finalists in the review of its $3-5 million advertising account, the client confirmed.

Competing for the account are New York-based shops DiNoto, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, The Arnell Group and BrandBuzz, said Julie Phillips, vp of marketing for the upscale fitness chain. Equinox has assigned the contenders a strategic project, which will be presented during the last two weeks in September, she said.

A final decision is due by early October, Phillips said.

The New York-based client parted ways with incumbent Bouchez Kent & Company two months ago, and has been looking at small and midsize shops since early August. Phillips has said the client wants a full-service agency with planning and integrated marketing capabilities.

Equinox operates 21 locations in New York, Connecticut, Chicago and California, and plans to open three new clubs by year’s end. Phillips said the chain would likely open five or six facilities next year as well.

Equinox spent less than $500,000 annually on ads from 2000 to 2002, and $500,000 from January through May of this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. In 1998, a turf war with rival New York sports club Crunch pushed spending to $2 million for a campaign crafted by Anton & Partners in New York.

Bouchez Kent, which held the business since 2001, created strategy, print and outdoor ads for the client, which handled direct mail in-house. The New York shop attempted to position the gym as a lifestyle choice that would help upscale clientele balance the rigors of work with an exercise regimen.