Olin Brings Back Smooth Johnson

Aging Ski Bum Character Makes the Grade

LOS ANGELES–Smooth Johnson has returned in a new Olin Skis consumer and trade campaign from Hammerquist & Saffel.
The Seattle agency’s print ads are running in consumer magazines, including Powder, Skiing, Snow Country and Ski, and trade publications such as Wintersport Business and Ski Tech. The star of the ads, fictional elderly ski legend Smooth Johnson, first appeared in an Olin trade campaign last year.
“The campaign was so successful that the company embraced it for its consumer side,” said Hugh Saffel, agency principal and co-creative director.
In addition to the print work, the agency has produced a poster, catalog and booklet for trade distribution offering a minibiography of Smooth.
The booklet answers such questions as what Smooth eats before a big race (“Food, you moron,” he responds) and where he got the nickname “Smooth.” (His mom gave him a thrashing when he was young, after he hit a mailbox. “Nice and smooth.”)
Choosing an aging ski bum as spokesman for a ski brand was designed to distinguish the 28-year-old company from its competitors. “People are bored with regular ski [ads],” said copywriter Ian Cohen. “Smooth Johnson is the skiing everyman.”