New Equinox Ads Go for the Carnivalesque

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Has everyone over at Fallon been reading Bahktin? As noted yesterday by FishbowlNY (our sister blog), the Minneapolis-based ad agency has taken a decidedly carnivalesque approach to its new campaign for Equinox fitness centers, recruiting photographer Ellen von Unwerth to shoot Rabelaisian groupings of (presumably) gym-toned hedonists cavorting in Versailles-style settings (wearing a mix of period attire, tiny metallic bikinis, or nothing at all) and nuns sketching a nude man. Each of the print ads features the words “happily ever” in a large script typeface at the bottom of the von Unwerth photo. Smaller letters underneath spell out “What’s your after?”

So, happily or not, what was Equinox after? Ad Age‘s William Hupp got the scoop from Hillary Benjamin, the company’s senior director of marketing:

“It’s [about] both fitness and lifestyle,” Ms. Benjamin said. “We were looking to continue to evolve the brand’s lifestyle position. Our members are less motivated by physical results [than] the long-term implications of being physically and emotionally fit. They work hard for their rewards, and in this case, our members expect their ultimate fantasy, their ‘happily ever after.'”

We think the campaign is a slam dunk, but we have to confess, seeing some of the new ads got us to wondering: was the first-choice photographer perhaps David LaChapelle?