Racy advertising campaign for high-end gym chain slammed by members for using too-thin models


Racy advertising campaign for high-end gym chain slammed by members for using too-thin models

An ad for a high-end chain of gyms has sparked outrage among members who have accused the company of casting models that are too thin.

Equinox, which has outposts in New York, South Beach and Hollywood among others, is famed for its fashion editorial-style campaigns, and in choosing controversial photographer Terry Richardson, was clearly keen to shock.

But while some members took issue with the racy nature of the ads, most were concerned by the fact that all the models were too thin to be healthy role models.

Too thin An advertising campaign for the upmarket Equinox gym chain, shot by Terry Richardson, has come under fire from members who say the female models are too slender to be healthy role models

Too thin An advertising campaign for the upmarket Equinox gym chain, shot by Terry Richardson, has come under fire from members who say the female models are too slender to be healthy role models

Shortly after the campaign was released, members took to the brand’s Facebook page to complain.

One post read: 'Why
did all of the models have a runway physique Equinox is promoting
health and fitness, so I would like to see some healthy and fit women on
their ad campaigns who look like they could actually survive a typical
Equinox class…'

Another wrote: 'I'd like to see some ad campaigns showing people that actually go to that gym'.

The
images, which are typical of Richardson's risqu style, feature men and women in various states of undress.

Mixed message: While the male models in the shoot are well-toned and show off a more muscular physique, the women are slender, set in provocative poses and dressed in skimpy clothes

Mixed message: While the male models in the shoot are well-toned and show off a muscular physique, the women are slender, set in provocative poses and dressed in skimpy clothing

Selling a dream: The campaign is clearly intended to represent an exciting, glamorous lifestyle

Selling a dream: The campaign is clearly intended to represent an exciting, glamorous lifestyle

The female models used in the images show little muscle mass or other evidence of spending time on a treadmill or in an aerobics class.

The
men in Richardson's images, however, are obviously strong and muscular – with
one guy flexing his oiled bicep as he leans over a women whose only nod
to fitness are her knee-high sports socks.

While there is little to suggest that the female models don’t spend time at the gym in real life, members feel that more representative imagery would have been appropriate.

Change of perception: The reaction demonstrates a growing acceptance that images of athletic women are a more positive message in ads than pictures of models with unachievable body shapes

Public perception: The reaction from members demonstrates a growing acceptance that images of athletic women send a more positive message than models with unattainable body shapes

'Can
we maybe see a little bit if [sic] muscle on the ladies next time
around' one asks on the Equinox Facebook page. 'The Nike ads are great examples of strong, fit women!'

The reaction demonstrates an acceptance that images of an athletic physique are a more positive
message than slim models whose bodies might be beautiful but are unachievable for most women.

'Fit is the new skinny!' says another commentator.

Missing the point: /01/04/article-0-0F56E8BA00000578-717_634x627.jpg

In shape: Just one image demonstrates the type of attributes one might develop from working out in a gym

This
is the second campaign Richardson has shot for Equinox. Previous contributors have
included Gilles Bensimon, who has shot for Playboy, and Steven Klein,
who is also known for erotic imagery.

And while the (supposedly) more glamorous and exciting lifestyle portrayed in the images may
grab headlines, the brand could be at risk of alienating its members who can pay up to $225 a month to use its facilities.

As one woman puts it: 'Another couple million spent on the degradation of women. Good work fitness guys.'