Mountain Hardwear Camping With Its Customers

Celebrates the Harshness of the Great Outdoors in Mandala Ads
LOS ANGELES–The Mandala Agency leaves etiquette to those indoor types and engages in some good-natured goading in a new print campaign for Mountain Hardwear, an outdoor recreation brand.
The ads are designed to appeal to genuine outdoorspeople, said Brian Bowler, president and creative director of the Bend, Ore., shop. They convey authenticity by tapping into the psyche of that type of consumer, he said.
“While you go into the wilderness being cautious,” Bowler explained, “everyone loves to come out of the wilderness telling horror stories. … It’s about the moments when you’re tested and the equipment is tested.”
One ad, for example, features an image of a lightning storm and the words “Somewhere in the back of your twisted skull, you were hoping this would happen.” Additional text mentions a tent’s “waterproof titanium oxide membrane” and “engineered high-tensile suspension systems,” and then puts those selling points in perspective as “stuff that means diddly until the weather turns to absolute crap.”
Another ad features the provocation, “Pounded by brutal winds all day and you’re still smiling? Freak.”
Jamie Tipton, marketing manager for Berkeley, Calif.-based Mountain Hardwear, said the ads capture the outdoor lifestyle of the target consumer. “Our customers are very passionate about what they do in the outdoors,” Tipton said. “Our communications to our consumer need to really tap into that enthusiasm and passion.”
The campaign includes full-page layouts and one-thirds that focus on a single product. They launch next month in outdoor recreation publications such as Outdoor, Backpacker and Climbing. The effort will break in European markets such as the U.K. and Spain in late fall.
Founded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear now has outlets in Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand, in addition to large dealer networks in the U.S. and Canada. Mandala picked up the account about a year ago, succeeding Riddell Advertising & Design in Jackson, Wyo. K