Up Front for a Cycling Backpack

Crispin Porter + Bo-gusky captures the competitive spirit of bicyclists in its first print campaign for Hydrapak, a division of Bell Helmets and Giro Sport Design.

The Miami shop took the tough road course, according to CP+B copywriter Ari Merkin, in positioning the Santa Cruz, Calif., client’s product, a backpack that holds 100 ounces of water.

“Most professional racers wouldn’t consider a hydration pack because it’s cumbersome, yet serious riders out for several hours would buy these,” said Merkin. “Travis Brown is the rare exception of someone who wears and wins with a hydration pack.”

Three print ads, photographed by Mark Laita, show tightly cropped portraits of pro racers Brown and Marla Streb, their faces streaked with road splatter as a waterline waves across their eyes. The tagline is: “For serious drinkers.”

“Both the person and the Hydrapak are vessels,” said studio artist Milan De Vito. “The Hydrapak provides so much hydration, you can see the waterline. When you’ve reached your maximum water level, you’re most efficient.”

Two-page spreads are appearing in Bike, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Dirt Rag, Velo News, Outside Buyers Guide and Outside.

“This approach rose to the top because we were able to do everything the competition does and more,” said Merkin. “It focuses on versatility, hydration and celebrity endorsers, which makes the product aspirational.”