Equinox Exerts Its Tough Luxe

Equinox Fitness enlists what it calls “edgy” actors and athletes—including Chiaki Kuryama, the mace-wielding assassin in Kill Bill—in a $3-5 million campaign that returns physical intensity to the upscale gym’s image.

Print from New York shop Lipman breaks in January and uses volleyball player Gabrielle Reece and boxer Roy Jones Jr., among others, to back the new tag, “It’s not fitness. It’s life.” TV will follow next year.

Lipman won the New York-based client’s account in October after a mutual friend connected creative director David Lipman with Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak. The shop bypassed the review, which involved BrandBuzz, Love Collective, Omnicom’s The Arnell Group, DiNoto and Mad Dogs & Englishmen, all in New York.

Lipman instead sent a video explaining his philosophy that the club should sell itself as mainstay in patron’s lives. Lipman himself used the club to lose nearly 50 pounds.

Past work from Bouchez Kent in New York focused on the emotional boons of balancing a hard workday with a good workout, said client vp of marketing Julie Phillips.

The new campaign continues to position Equinox as a tony alternative to fitness goliaths like Bally Total Fitness, which operates 420 gyms. Equinox will open six clubs in 2004, a move the ads will support.