Ad of the Day: Columbia Sportswear

Meet the brand's anti-spokesman, Wim Hof, the one crazy fool who'd rather go almost naked in the Arctic

Wim Hof doesn't mind prancing through the Arctic cold in nothing but his shorts. For the rest of us, Columbia Sportswear suggests trying its battery-powered, electrically warmed line of Omni-Heat outerwear.

Still, Hof, the hypothermia-defying Dutch stuntman, also known as "The Iceman," stars in the brand's new campaign from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. The ad below opens on a meditating, cross-legged and mostly naked Hof sitting on a block of ice. As an overblown voiceover builds suspense, he jumps down and proceeds to run across the frozen surface of a glacial pool before jumping into the icy waters through a fishing hole. "What you are about to see is real," teases the voiceover. "There are no props. No body doubles. Just a man keeping himself warm with the power of his mind." (An onscreen disclaimer warns: "Wim Hof is a professional. You are not. Do not attempt.) After his frigid swim, Hof climbs into a glass cage, and two assistants bury him up to his chin in ice—a signature feat of endurance for which he's repeatedly broken his own world record, most recently by spending a chilling 110 minutes in a similar state of submersion. The ad then delivers a welcome twist as the camera pans to a random guy nearby, decked out in Columbia gear, sneering at Hof's apparent insanity. This is "another man, keeping even warmer with an electric jacket," zings the narrator.

The spot, filmed on the ice in Lapland, in northern Finland, is a smart and well-executed send-up of the documentary-style ad genre, and such a satire could have easily encumbered Columbia's message. Instead, it fits well: The brand calls Hof an "anti-spokesperson." In other words, he's the one nutjob on the planet who wouldn't beg for its cozy product during extended exposure to subzero temperatures.


Client: Columbia Sportswear

Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif.

Executive Creative Director: Mike Shine

Executive Creative Director: John Butler

Creative Director: Tom Coates

Senior Copywriter: Chris Bull

Senior Art Director: Alex Rice

Senior Art Director: Shahin Edalati

Senior Art Director: Trevor Steinbacher

Interactive: Trevor Steinbacher

Director of Broadcast Production: Adrienne Cummins

Producer: Luke Rzewnicki

Production Company: ACNE

Director: Henrik Sundgren

Executive Producer: Fran McGivern

Line Producer: Johnny Parker

Executive Producer: Richard Bjorlin

Executive Producer: Pal Asberg

Line Producer: Anna Bergstrom

Production Company: Woodpecker Film

Line Producer: Hannu Kalliolahti

Director of Photography: Jalo Faber

Editorial Company: Cleaver

Editor: Pete Koob

Executive Producer: Richard Quan

Assistant Editor: Jasmina Zaharieva

Graphics: Tom Yaniv

Finish: MPC

Music Company: Sonixsphere

Additional Music: APM

Audio Design: Lime Studios

Sound Design: Lime Studios

Photographer: Ture Lillegraven

Production Company: First Shot Productions

Producer: Zach Crawford

Interactive Production: BSSP

Producer: Garrett Delorm

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