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.

CREDITS

Advertiser: National Park Foundation

Agency: Grey New York

—TV

Creative

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

Production

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

—Print

Creative

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

Production

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