Once the clock strikes at midnight, 91% of Americans start the new year off with resolutions to get fit and lose weight. With a “New Year, New Me” motto in mind, studies show that people join gyms in January more than any other month.
Unfortunately, most gyms lose 50% of their new members within six months of joining. Knowing these statistics, Equinox launched its ”We Don’t Speak January” campaign which bluntly told anyone who was thinking about becoming a new member on January 1, 2023 to think again. Equinox’s main message to the public was, “You are not a New Year’s resolution. Your life doesn’t start at the beginning of the year. And that’s not what being part of Equinox is about.”
In addition to the bold statement shared on social media and its website, Equinox also posted a TikTok video of a man grinning ear to ear as he lifted weights in an empty gym. The video, which has since been deleted, was captioned, “Take your resolutions somewhere else.”
While current Equinox members, who pay pricey memberships ranging from $200-$500 per month, were thrilled with the New Year’s Day ban, it was met with harsh criticism and mixed feelings on social media. Many people argued that the campaign was exclusionary and elitist. After all, why should a gym turn people away who wanted to kick off a healthier lifestyle on New Year’s Day? Others felt that it was perfectly on brand. After all, Equinox is not the type of gym for everyone, and they don’t want to be the type of gym everyone.
Shortly after the campaign controversy began, other gyms were quick to join the conversation.
Planet Fitness released a more welcoming statement, “The Judgement Free Zone speaks all months. I mean, what did January ever do to you?!” while Anytime Fitness chimed in with, “Anytime means any time. Like even January 1st.”
In the end, I don’t think Equinox will be issuing an apology any time soon. Although the campaign did spark outrage on social media, it succeeded in garnering a massive amount of attention. I say kudos to Equinox for this calculated marketing tactic.