Hughes Targets Skiers, Hikers With Unique Art

The Hughes Group en listed an illustrator with a unique style in an effort to break out of the pack in its second cam paign for PolarMax winter clothing for outdoor-sports enthusiasts.

PolarMax is a sweat-wicking material used as what serious cold-weather outdoors people call a “technical base layer.” The brand competes with much bigger players, such as Patagonia, according to agency president James Schnurbusch said.

In an effort to gain notice with a smaller budget, Hughes hired Joel Nakamura, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based artist, for the print ads. Working with guidelines from the agency, Nakamura created colorful and surreal paintings that are surrounded by Hughes copy.

An ad aimed at skiers reads: “Survival: At 3,500 feet and 5 below 0, sweat can be deadly. PolarMax pulls sweat away from your body. Too bad it can’t stop a whiteout.”

Another execution, slated for Backpacker magazine, is headlined, “Primal: Nature beckons with fingery tree limbs.”

Employing impressionistic takes of people engaged in outdoor pursuits, the two ads are tagged, “Polar Max. The base with in stinct.”

“The premise is taking different instincts and using copy to relate emotionally to the audience,” said Schnurbusch. “We felt we of fered unique imagery for the audience.”

The St. Louis agency’s first work, shortly after winning the Candor, N.C.-based Longworth Industries advertising assignment for PolarMax last year, “looked like the category, using snowboarding and skiing,” Schnurbusch said.

According to Nakamura’s Web site, his “tin paintings explore ideas inspired by Mexican folklore, re tablo paintings and road signage. These tin works follow the tradition of painting images on sheets of tin in central Mexico.”

Spending on the campaign was not disclosed. The ads are set to run in the December, January and February issues of Skiing and Freeze magazines.