McKinney Transforms Bath Towels Into Topography

David Baldwin’s fascination with exotic landscapes and distant locales resurfaces in McKinney & Silver’s upcoming campaign for Royal Velvet bath linens.

Instead of the outer reaches of Africa, so familiar in his work for Audi cars, Baldwin—McKinney’s executive creative director—unexpectedly creates “lush,” “deep” and “vast” natural panoramas using the folds of varicolor towels.

In the Raleigh, N.C., agency’s latest Royal Velvet print advertising, “Deep” registers as the windswept waves of a blue ocean at sunset. “Lush” captures the emerald green of new grass and rolling hills. “Vast” is the red-tinted sand of a trackless desert.

Copy consists of the words “Deep,” “Lush” and “Vast” (natural variants of thicker, softer and bigger), embedded in the center of the corresponding advertisement. A tag—”Introducing the softer, more luxurious, classic bath towel”—runs across the bottom of each ad.

“We were inspired by nature,” said Baldwin. “These towels are incredibly large, thick and soft, therefore vast, deep and lush are perfect words.”

The three print ads begin rolling out next month in fashion and shelter periodicals including Elle Decor, InStyle, House and Garden, House Beautiful, Country Home, Country Living, Coastal Living and Martha Stewart Living.

“This new campaign is one of the strongest translations of product attributes in a visual context that makes a real difference,” said Bob Hamilton, vice president of advertising for Royal Velvet at Fieldcrest Cannon. “It works better than simply calling a towel thicker or softer.”

Gerado Blumenkrantz served as art director on the campaign. Jon Wagner was the copywriter, and Suzanne Moore oversaw print production.

“The client wanted something bigger than life,” said Blumen-krantz. “So we decided to turn to soothing images of nature.”

New York photographer Richard Bachmann and digital artist Alexis Logothetis created the seamless trompe l’oeil effects.

Fieldcrest Cannon is a division of the Pillowtex Corp., headquartered in Kannapolis, N.C. The company has been manufacturing bedding and towels since the 1950s.