On a recent business trip to San Francisco, as my friends and I were walking down Market street, we passed a window with a large advertisement consisting of five nearly naked models engaged it what is best described as the beginning stages of an orgy. Of course, being the three 30 something red blooded males that we are, we stopped to take a quick peak at the ad and to see what the advertisement itself was selling? Our logical guess was that we were standing outside of a Victoria’s Secret store or some other lingerie shop. Our assumption was wrong. The advertisement was there to promote / sell memberships to the San Francisco Equinox Sports Club. The advertisement’s text proclaimed over the top of the scantly clad models, “Commit To Something.”


My friends and I immediately started rambling off a list of things we thought the ad was imploring us to commit to. Some of the ideas that came to our minds are listed below…

  • Commit yourself to having your first orgy
  • Commit to getting your first sexually transmitted disease
  • Commit yourself to wearing bikini briefs versus boxer shorts
  • In the case of¬†the man with his hand on his head in the middle of the ad, commit yourself to getting a better personal waxer for your “trail to paradise” and upper thighs. Honestly, if you are going to appear in an ad wearing nothing but low cut black bikini briefs, do some man-scaping. The other people in the orgy with thank you. ūüôā

The press release Equinox put out announcing the ads on January 4th explained what their company felt the ads were meant to convey to their potential members. Of course, their point of view was the polar opposite of mine and my friends. It read in part…

‚ÄúEquinox believes in a world where ‘commitment’ is a worthy pursuit.¬† The state of consumer tendencies today demonstrates a modern-day aversion to loyalty. A notion that committing to nothing is the best way to get something.¬† Equinox sees it another way: Commitment is achievement. It is a discipline. It is about having deliberate intentions and following through. The brand, which prides itself on providing an unparalleled experience for members to discover their maximum potential, challenges campaign viewers to take action, to start committing, to celebrate the attitude and merit of dedication.

“Equinox is about commitment, we are obsessed with it, and we challenge our members to know who they are and what they want.¬†It’s not just about fitness – it’s about life.¬† The concept of commitment is bold, incredibly powerful, and it’s real, especially in a world today where commitment is lacking,” says Carlos Becil, Equinox Chief Marketing Officer.‚ÄĚ

Inside my home¬†state of Utah, I am considered something of a liberally minded person; however,¬†I’ll be the first to admit that I outside of Utah, my point of view is¬†considered conservative. I was an advertising and marketing major in college, and I know from studying the history of advertising and watching the ads that have run in my lifetime, sex sells. That being said, having been a committed distance runner and athlete for the last 20 years, and having been every size from a lean and cut 28-30″ waist to a 38-40″ waist, I can say, from experience, your level of commitment to your fitness and your looks will not automatically assure you an invitation to an orgy or immediately make a large amount of women or men to throw themselves at you.

I am personally more drawn to Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign that has been running on and off for the last couple of years. I remember how affected I was when I first saw the thirty second ad of a young 230 pound boy running down the street in his rural hometown. I immediately was inspired. I wanted to go out for a run because the ad let me know that I don’t need to be an Olympic gold medalist to be great. Being great is about being willing to take those first steps out the door for a run or to the gym. It’s not about how lean and cut you are. It is about doing the best you can day in and day out. It’s about having and pursuing a goal that is your personal Mt Everest instead of comparing yourself to the elite athletes you see on your television. Most importantly, finding your greatness is about pursuing and committing to a¬†goal because that goal makes you a better version of yourself, not because your goal will lead you to be able to have more illicit sexual activity and a larger bank account.¬†

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In Nike’s own words, greatness is not something only a chosen few can achieve, it is something that is readily available in all of us if we are willing to commit ourself to OUR definition of greatness instead of the general public’s definition¬†of greatness.

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No matter what the two¬†ad campaigns with opposing views above tell us, our ability to commit ourselves to something and to find our greatness is 100% about what we feel is achievable and important to US in our own lives. For some, Equinox’s “Commit to Something” campaign¬†perfectly describes why they are pursuing their fitness. They feel that their new level of fitness will bring an enhanced sex life and that is important to them. For others, Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign sums up why they are pursuing their own personal goal. Accomplishing that goal is all it will take to make them feel that they have achieved greatness.

At the end of the day, the motivation behind the reason you are pursuing your goal is not important. The important thing is that the accomplishment of that goal makes you feel fulfilled.

Which of the two ads above appeals more to you? Equinox’s “Commit to Something” campaign or Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign?

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