This Campaign Finds a Clever Visual Way to Show Our Connection to the National Parks

Grey breaks out the body paint for stirring spot

The National Park Service has a sightseeing stop for everyone, so long as you're wearing body paint to match the scenery you're planning to visit.

In this new ad for the National Park Foundation, which raises money to sustain government parks, Grey New York creates a world full of colorful lost souls trying to find their way home—to whichever tourist attraction happens to match their stripes.

Titled "Find Your Park," it risks coming across as corny—but actually nets out as visually charming, smartly riddled with rich and inviting landscapes, and armed with a strong, simple metaphor. In fact, if you're a U.S. taxpayer, you're already funding the parks, so they really are yours (though the ad aims to bring in more much-needed cash to sustain them).

It's not the first time an advertiser has relied on camouflage body paint to make its point. In 2012, Sprite and then-agency BBH New York used the same basic gimmick, with a dystopian twist. But here, Grey casts the act of blending in with your surroundings as a positive—at least, assuming you can find the place you belong. (The National Parks also technically include historical institutions like Federal Hall in New York City. If you do go on a vision quest, the correct protocol is to gaze in wonder at whatever scene of natural or manmade beauty and significance you find.)

It's also easier to like an ad that peddles public institutions by showcasing their broad aesthetic and cultural value than an ad that peddles sugar water by appealing to crass individualism (perplexingly defined as drinking the same sugar water as everyone else).

A print ad (below) in Grey's new campaign, meanwhile, takes a slightly more straightforward approach, juxtaposing a photo of Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River in Arizona with that photo of a donor—to create a portrait resembling what Batman villain Two-Face might look like if half his face were good and half were a rock. (That follows similar print mashups that rolled out this summer.)

And yet, that still manages to appeal to the vanity of audiences who might wish to be lauded—or just feel good about themselves—for contributing to the cause … even, or perhaps especially, if they don't fancy themselves walking around like a bunch of street artists squeezing a little vacationing between sets.

Advertiser: National Park Foundation
Agency: Grey New York


Group Creative Director: Sean Crane
Group Creative Director: Joe Mongognia
Creative Director (Art Director): Chris Perrone
Creative Director (Writer): Tony Muller
Project Manager: Craig Lucero

Director: Floyd Russ
VP Producer: Keira Rosenthal
Production House: Vision
Executive Producer: Bethanie Schwartz
Line Producer: Stephanie Cohen
Production Manager: Michael Sapienza

Editorial Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Trish Fuller
Assistant Editor: David Rothstadt
Executive Producer: Lauren Hertzberg
Producer: Samantha Havas

Account Management
VP Account Director: Casey Potash
Account Supervisor: Kate Neupert
Account Executive: Abel Gachou


Group Creative Director: Sean Crane
Executive Creative Director: Rob Perillo
Group Creative Director: Joe Mongognia
Art Director: Jackie Blaze
Writer: Louis Wittig
Project Manager: Craig Lucero

Photographer: David Johnson
VP Manager Art Producers: Jayne Horowitz
Senior Print Producer: Stan Pribichevich
Print Project Manager: Barbara Youngblood
Business Manager: Christine Osborne
Director of Studio Services: Joe Raffio

Account Management
VP Account Director: Casey Potash
Account Supervisor: Kate Neupert
Assistant Account Executive: Katie Robison