The other day I set down with a trainer at Equinox, as you get a free session with the start of a new membership. The first thing he asked me was “what are you goals?” All of the sudden I felt as if I were sitting in front of Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy in the show Nip Tuck, being asked “what don’t you like about yourself?” I did’t know if there was a proper way to answer that question. Were there too many or too little goals? I played it cool and answered that I was mainly interested in releasing/ preventing stress from work. However between you and me, I could have come up with at least six “goals” right on the spot.
After my session I was convinced that having a trainer was a solid idea. I mean, who doesn’t want to be/feel/look better? That is exactly what Equinox was selling me: a better self, one that I could be more proud of.
This after-feeling got me thinking about the plethora of brands whose sole value proposition is self-improvement. Below are three spots that I consider to have done a great job in communicating this to their target audience.
I of course had to choose the first round of spots in the “Equinox Made Me Do It” campaign. This campaign does it for me for two reasons. First, the spot cuts through the clutter by avoiding the common: showing images of people working out and the amazing equipment and amenities the gym has. Yes Equinox does have great equipment and amenities, but we all know what those look like. The strength of the campaign lies in showing a masterful comprehension of the Equinox brand and the target audience. Previous Equinox ads were splattered with hot-shots and their banging bodies, but is that what the target audience ultimately strives for? Not according to Wieden + Kennedy’s research. Inspired by the fitness club’s own members, research revealed that “once you do get into better shape, you get this confidence, and it lowers your inhibitions and can get you into compromising situations.” And while not everyone necessarily wants to jump over a fence, we all want that “I don’t give a fuck” confidence. As the Equinox slogan “Its Not Fitness. Its Life” offers, the effects of an Equinox workout go beyond a great body and permeate throughout all of your life.
The second spot I chose was unveiled during the 2015 Super Bowl. Prior to writing this post I had read a book on strategy with an exercise that challenged me to think about the last time I had received a gift that generated that “they really know me” feeling. This is what great creative strategy strives to achieve and the "All You Can Eat" spot from Weight Watchers does just that for its target audience. To them food is an addiction that is being pushed upon them on a daily basis, and to which they have no control over.
Wieden + Kennedy did a riveting job by mirroring the feeling of impotency and vulnerability a person who is trying to change their eating habits feels, to that of a drug-addict being pushed to buy more drugs without anyone to serve as a safety net. Changing any habit is difficult (I could only imagine trying to give up my morning coffee addiction...) But to many, changing some habits requires a support system that understands them and can guide them. To those trying to lose weight, Weight Watchers is that support system .
Finally, I have chosen to include the "Find Your Greatness" spot from Nike. I immediately fell in love with this spot when it was shown on my class tour of the Weiden + Kennedy headquarters in Portland. The campaign was launched during the London 2012 Olympics to secure their share of the brand exposure pie— Adidas had paid tens of millions of pounds to become a global sponsor during the event.
Greg Hoffmam Brand Chief of Nike offers that the spot was to "simply inspire and energise everyday athletes everywhere and to celebrate their achievements, participate and enjoy the thrill of achieving in sport at their own level,” but I think it does a little more. The spot is a reminder of what Nike stands for: that if you have a body you are an athlete.
The Olympics is a time celebrate the best athletes in the world, yet the spot reminds us that there is greatness within all of us, that it is “no more unique to us than breathing,” and that “we are all capable of it.” The spot is incredibly life-affirming, and while it makes no reference to any product or collection, I think people might just stop by a Nike store to find their greatness.