Equinox is no stranger to provocative and thought-provoking campaigns to catch your eye, and it’s returning to its roots this year with its latest concept, Want It All. The idea shows 16 conflicted desires with contrasting visuals photographed by Zhong Ling. Chief Marketing Officer Jeff De Korte tells THE DAILY how it all came together.
What’s the idea behind the theme?
We think of Equinox as a brand for those who want it all, those who desire a high-performance lifestyle, who like to find their edges and push their boundaries. This campaign is our effort to turn that truth into an imperative. One last call to action. We think about desire and want as this engine of action to inspire change, and how it forces, drives, and pushes you forwards. That’s why focusing in on this call seemed compelling. We’re using this campaign to urge our community to unearth their own desires and find those engines that drive them. It’s almost like an awakening, to push them to new places.
Tell us about the different ideas in the campaign.
To explore this idea of wanting it all, we came up with eight pairs of images and eight pairs of ‘wants’ that demonstrate a landscape of extremes, if you will. [For example], intensity versus indulgence, yourself versus others, softness versus strength. By purposely contrasting these against each other, we’re able to convey that you can have both. One of the favorite pairings is want yourself versus want others. [For example] You can want yourself, but you can also want community and that spark of connection; the intimacy of being something bigger than yourself. We feel they pair nicely, demonstrating the breadth of want.
Who came up with these themes?
It was a great collaborative process between our internal teams and our external partners at Chandelier Creative. We signed on with them last year to help us think about the brand and activate it. It’s a great example of how creative teams challenge each other and push limits. We’re thrilled with what resulted from that. It’s been a lovely, beautiful process.
Campaigns typically attract new members. How will this campaign benefit existing members?
Engaging with these images in the club will allow our community to think about what their desires are. When the images are in our clubs, on digital screens and walls, our members will be interacting with them. It’s driving conversation and it’s driving them to think a little more about what they want.
Tell us more about how it’s driving conversation.
Want It All is a challenge posed to the community to think about what it is that defines “all.” For each of us, all could mean something different. All could be success professionally or personally, it could be about family, or fame, or whatever it is. We’re encouraging our members and our teams to have those conversations and define what it is they aspire to be.
The campaign was shot by Zhong Ling. Why was she the right fit?
If you know our brand, you know we have a history of working with some of the most provocative image makers in the space. We were thrilled to come back to that again this year. Zhong’s work is stunning. It’s this wild alchemy in contrast, extreme beauty, and allure. There’s a poetic luxury in her work. And it’s also rich for interpretation. We knew she would bring that same style, mastery, and mystique to this campaign as we interpreted in each of these pairings.
Where did you shoot the campaign?
We shot on a soundstage in Brooklyn in October with a big team. It was an open and undefined space that let us come in and be creative. We went into the space thinking about what we wanted to shoot for each of these pairings, but there was an organic evolution [on set]. The teams worked off of each other. We came out of there with more than we expected to. The space really lent itself to that creativity.
How long did it take to shoot it?
It was a three-day shoot—three long and energetic days. It finished with the last shot for Chaos with the motorbike. Watching our talent drive the motorcycle around and do wheelies and create a chaotic space inside the soundstage was a cool way to finish.
Where will we be seeing the campaign?
This is a campaign that has breath, depth, and longevity. You’ll see it in all our major markets—even on large billboards. You’ll see it in digital media and our social media, too. One of our secret campaign [platforms] is via our club windows. Our clubs are in some of the best neighborhoods and communities in the country. At our Flatiron club in New York, we have a takeover of the building going up five stories high, which is exciting and a great way for us to launch this campaign.
How did members get involved?
In order to tease out this campaign and prepare the community for the clarion call of one and all, we leaned into this notion of desire. We ran a quote in The New York Times by poet Stanley Kunitz: “What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire…” We actually asked our members what they desire and created a 1-800 number to act like a confessional, and we had hundreds of members call in and tell us what it is they desire! That helped inform and guide the campaign and some of the pairings of desire we came up with. So we really got the authentic desire of our community into this campaign, which is helping to drive the brand.
How does it feel as the mastermind of this to see it come to fruition?
I want to be clear, I’m leading an amazing team. I’m not the mastermind behind this. There’s a lot of folks in the room. Personally, it’s an amazing moment to see what the team pulled together and what we can do as a brand, together with our internal and external teams. I couldn’t be more proud or excited for what we brought to market. Especially because it’s in that tradition of the provocative, thoughtful, luxury lifestyle campaigns that Equinox has traditionally done in the past. We’re excited to be back to our roots.
Why have these campaigns been such a vital part of the Equinox DNA? You could just as easily show a photo of a hot body.
We’re more than a fitness brand, we’re an inspirational luxury lifestyle brand. We want our members to think bigger, reach farther, and want more. These campaigns, which are the pinnacle of our branding, we want them to reach bigger and broader, too. We’re not part of the mainstream fitness industry. We’re not going to show people working out. We’re going to do creative and artistic ideas that inspire the community, inviting this self-exploration and self-excavation, which we hope to achieve with this campaign, too.
What else is new at Equinox?
We’re always ahead of our community needs at Equinox, and this year is no exception. We will be launching new signature group fitness classes, including a new cycling offering, proprietary running coaching, and elevated Pilates experiences. With the support and counsel of Equinox’s Health Advisory Board, Equinox Fitness Training Institute will continue to create innovative, exclusive programming for Equinox members and coaches. We also strive to support our community, which transcends fitness and Equinox’s own spaces. We’re inspired by our commitment to providing our members with unparalleled cultural experiences that enrich their lives, whether it’s doing Pilates classes at Hall des Lumière’s, the immersive art center, or yoga on Edge at Hudson Yards.