Equinox Names Executive Creative Director, Plans to Build Up In-house Talent

Professionally, Will Mayer connected with Equinox through his creative agency and personally he found it four years ago due to “a severe back issue from a ton of broken bones and surgeries.”

After a doctor presented two options — surgery to put two steel rods in his back with a yearlong recovery or building up the muscles in his back — Mayer chose the latter and found a trainer at Equinox in 2016. Through his athletic pursuits, he has racked up 20 broken bones. “Collarbone, legs, ankles, arms — everything. This is why I got into filmmaking originally because I kept breaking all my bones snowboarding, skateboarding or playing hockey,” Mayer said.

As the company’s new executive creative director, he already is familiar with some of the executives, having worked with them through Better Half, the digital-first agency that he cofounded. In 2019, he started consulting with Equinox and led the creative development of its home content studio.

“Equinox already has an incredible brand and product. The really interesting thing about where they are as a company now to me is this expansion into an omnichannel approach — [of] having everything drive back to in-club experiences, but having all these different touch points,” he said.

Describing part of his specialization as a consultant, director and agency owner over the past decade as synchronizing a holistic brand approach across platforms, Mayer said he is adept at creating custom strategies for each platform that is consistent with the others and relays a larger brand story. Now 27, he was a 14-year-old high schooler when he directed for Vans and traveled globally with their snowboarders, skaters and surfers.

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He had been speaking with Equinox’s chief marketing officer Seth Solomons about a creative agency within Equinox and Mayer said he is excited to build out the “top-notch” studio. The in-house team will oversee creative communications, campaigns, as well as editorial and general content production.

Unlike in the past when doing major campaigns once or twice a year would suffice, now daily engagement and contact is needed, according to Mayer, who started with Equinox officially on Monday. The number of hires will be determined after he and Solomons spend a month analyzing and mapping out their plans. Having spent 10 years between Los Angeles and New York, Mayer said he will be “heavily based” in New York.

The fitness industry is among the harder hit casualties of the pandemic, due to extended shutdowns last year and some current mandated closures in select cities and states. As for how digital and creative content will help to bridge the divide as people try to decide whether they should return based on their own health concerns, Mayer said, “Equinox has basically perfected the in-club experience. It’s one of a kind. For us, it’s just [a matter of] translating that to a digital space as people no longer have borders. They work from home or they work from anywhere. We want to be anywhere with them. That is really the omnichannel that I spoke of. Although the club will always remain superior, and everything will drive back to that, giving members more places in which they can access us [is important].”

With many members being business owners and people who travel frequently for work, Equinox will continue to provide workout options they can use in their hotel rooms or in other spaces. Retail and selling directly to consumers are other areas with potential growth. While Equinox has partnered with brands in the past, Mayer is looking to amplify in-store sales and selling direct to its members. With its network of personal trainers and other experts, Equinox is well positioned to create and curate a range of products.

He praised Moncler’s “Genius” campaign and Rimowa for its collaborations. Equinox is looking to partner with people who are cultural leaders and really high performers, and members who are top in their field, Mayer said.

Equinox will be expanding all of its digital offerings and creating a premium experience for members and facilitating member conversations and engagements. The brand is looking to highlight members’ stories of accomplishments, ambitions and struggles they have overcome.

In his new role, he will not continue to work with clients personally through Better Half. However, his partners at the studio are taking over. “That studio has a really strong relationship with Equinox and a lot of other people so they’ll be doing their own thing,” Mayer said.

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