Columbia Sportswear unveiled its latest marketing campaign on Wednesday, October 7th. The campaign efforts are focused entirely on reaching consumers via social media. North, a Portland based advertising agency, developed the $50 million campaign. It will be rolled out in 63 markets all across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia this week. Based on its global reach and sizable budget, this is the largest campaign in Columbia’s 77 years of history.
The campaign, headlined with the slogan “Tested Tough,” primarily encompasses video content to be shown on YouTube and regular television. The video ads feature appearances of 91-year-old Gert Boyle, the CEO of Columbia Sportswear. The content aims to educate consumers about the historically “Tested Tough” quality of Columbia Sportwear products, with a twist of humor. This down-to-earth and humorous take on advertising is all in an effort to create a stronger emotional connection between the brand and its consumers.
“The majority of them over the last six or seven years were about specific products or technology that had little to do with the emotional side of the Columbia brand,” — Columbia Sportswear Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Redsun
CEO Boyle will also be featured in social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All digital ads will be targeted at specific geographical areas, marketing specific Columbia Sportswear products based on the area’s climate. The ads will still highlight the features of the products and the technology behind them, but will focus more heavily on creating a brand life style of “Tested Tough”. Employees of Columbia Sportswear will also be encouraged to post YouTube videos of their real life activities that put Columbia gear to the test. All posts will be branded and tagged with the #TestedTough slogan
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the “Tested Tough” campaign are the Directors of Toughness appointed by Columbia to promote their products and slogan. Over the next six months these Directors of Toughness will travel around the world, putting Columbia Sportwear clothing and footwear to the test. Their experiences will be documented and shared via blog posts.
Selected from among more than 3,000 applicants, Lauren Steele and Zach Doleac have an undeniable passion for outdoor adventure. More importantly, they have the experience with writing, photography, videography, and social media to put #TestedTough on the trending map.
“We’re pretty much in the dark. It’s going to be some cold places. It’s going to be some hot places. Other than that, any specifics are unknown to me at this time.” — Doleac
Name: Lauren Steele
Hometown: Kirksville, Missouri
Education: She graduated from University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Work Experience: She has freelanced for Outside, Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Rolling Stone and New York Magazine.
Fun Fact: She has travelled the world including the Atacama Dessert and Mont Blanc Massif.
Name: Zach Doleac
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Education: He played football and baseball at Middlebury College.
Work experience: He was the global team manager, marketing coordinator, and photographer for K2 Skis of K2 Sports USA.
Fun Fact: He became an Eagle Scout at age 15.