Equinox fitness clubs are rolling out a series of new ads that are being displayed in its gyms, as well as in publications like Boston Magazine. One of the “Happily ever” ads features attractive young women dressed as nuns in habit sketching a naked man; all are staring at his crotch.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:
“Twenty years ago, the ad agency that Equinox recently acquired to develop this ad, Fallon Worldwide, lost $22 million when major U.S. corporations stopped doing business with the company: an ugly series of racist and sexist incidents involving senior Fallon employees set off a firestorm. It is not likely that Fallon’s latest overture will garner the same reaction, though it makes one wonder why Equinox didn’t choose a more reliable ad agency.
“In any event, this patently stupid ad that Equinox is floating suggests that it must hype its edgy image in order to compete. That’s too bad—apparently their targeted demographic group isn’t lured by the prospect of more barbells and fruit bars. Hence, the need to rip off Catholic imagery in a sophomoric soft-porn ad.
“Of course, Equinox could have asked Fallon to replace the nuns with Islamic women covered with veils. But that was probably too edgy, even for these trendy types. Guess there are some envelopes that no one wants to push these days. How telling.”