Equinox Pulls Sexy Ad Campaign

The high-end gym ditches its controversial ads for a fitness-focused approach.

By: Rebecca Nelson

High-end gym chain Equinox is ditching its controversial ad campaign accused by some of being “sexist” and “degrading.”

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that the gym, which has locations in Bethesda and Tysons Corner, plans to focus more on fitness in its upcoming ad campaign. Photographer Terry Richardson, who has shot the gym’s campaigns for the past three years, won’t be working on the project; Equinox hired ad agencies Wieden+Kennedy New York and R/GA to take its advertising in a sportier direction. 

Equinox attracted attention this summer with a sexy ad campaign depicting naked and scantily clad people­—mostly women in bras or tight dresses—in suggestive positions that seemingly had no connection to exercise. One billboard in particular, at Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street in downtown Bethesda, featured a slim woman crawling on all fours across a pool table in a sparkly, skintight dress. 

Outraged, the group Sexism Matters started a Change.org petition calling for the billboard’s removal and ultimately garnered nearly 1,500 signatures. Equinox issued a statement saying the billboard would be removed that summer as previously scheduled. It was removed in July.

In a statement to Page Six, creative director Liz Nolan said, “We worked with Terry Richardson for three extremely successful campaigns. The natural point has now come to explore a fresh direction, and we’re really excited to launch a provocative new brand campaign in January 2014.”