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SO, YOU WANNA BE A CONTENDA?

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The Republik rabbit punches posh health spas' fixation on step aerobics, spinning and other au courant exercises with a more basic invitation: "Learn to Throw a Punch."

Visually, the Chapel Hill, N.C., shop's print and poster campaign for the Durham (N.C.) School of Boxing recalls vintage fight posters.

Spiritually, the work is an ironic take on those 1950s' Charles Atlas ads in the backof comic books that promised to build"98-pound weaklings" into muscle-boundbehemoths.

One of the ads depicts a step-aerobics aficionado (played by Republik art director Scott Pridgen) being accosted by a knife-wielding perp.

Self-defense advice includes: "Remain calm. Remove loafers. Put on cross-trainers. Tie laces. Tightly. Place 'step' firmly on the ground. Run, squealing."

In addition to appearing in local weekly newspapers, the ads—in pamphlet form—will be placed on car windshields outside competing health clubs.