Nail Intros Work for Ski Gear

Nail targets the obsessive skier in its latest campaign for Atomic Ski USA.

A series of print ads from the Providence, R.I., agency breaks as two-page spreads in fall issues of downhill and cross-country skiing magazines. Spending is in the mid-six-figure range.

The campaign continues the client’s long-running tagline, “Obsession? Compulsion? Addiction?” to promote the Amherst, N.H., company’s line of skis and related equipment. This time around, however, the shop tempers its approach by using subtle visual elements, according to agency co-creative director Alec Beckett.

One ad was shot on Boston’s bustling Commonwealth Avenue. At second glance, the reader notices a line of mountain-lift chairs along the telephone wires ahead. “We see it too,” states the small print. Fine print at the bottom of the page reads, “Your grip on snow can be better than your grip on reality with the Atomic SX:11 Supercross Snow System: skis, boots and bindings that flex for maximum acceleration and control.”

The idea, according to Beckett, is to illustrate the way skiers constantly have the sport in mind. “No matter how mundane the scene may appear, [readers] can’t help but see hints of skiing around them,” Beckett said. “You look for a clue when you read, ‘We see it too.'”

Another print ad’s photograph, shot on Boston’s infamous Southeast Expressway during rush hour, shows a series of moguls in front of three lines of bumper-to-bumper traffic. The “We see it too” line appears in between two of the cars.

A third execution, targeting cross-country skiers, shows an open road with tracks made from ski poles along the yellow lines running down the middle.

The ads are appearing through the end of the year in Ski, Skiing, Freeze, Powder, Back Country and other U.S. magazines; several Canadian publications are also scheduled, Beckett said. Media placement is handled in-house.

Creative credits include agency copywriter Ariel Broggi and art director Keith Manning. Boston-based William Huber was the campaign photographer.

Nail in the past has created advertising with a less subtle approach. One ad last year depicted a funeral scene for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, who had been killed by a skier angry about winter ending early. Nail has worked with the client since 1998.