Carhartt Hires Hot Director Derek Cianfrance for Spring Campaign

124-Year-Old Brand Hires Filmmaker of Steamy Flick "Blue Valentine"

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Is Carhartt --the 124-year workwear maker and fashion brand-- trying to heat up its image?

Based on its plans for a new ad campaign, it seems so. Carhartt is taking a decidely new approach for marketing its heavy duty coats, boots and flame-resistant wear than it has in the past. Ad Age has learned the company has hired hot filmmaker Derek Cianfrance to direct its upcoming commercial, shot in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Cianfrance is probably best known for his racy 2010 "Blue Valentine," probably best known for a steamy depiction of Ryan Gosling-on-Michelle Williams cunnilingus. The MPAA initially slapped the movie with an NC-17 rating, but eventually backed down and gave it an R.

The forthcoming Carhartt spot, from New York's Anomaly, is the brand's first spring TV ad. Mr. Cianfrance --who's affiliated with @radical.media-- has some commercial work under his belt, having done spots for Honda, ESPN and a tourism push for Qatar. Clothing will be a new challenge, however.

Fall is typically the big selling season for workwear as folks gear up for the cold weather, but Carhartt is trying to take over more of the calendar.

Said Tony Ambroza, VP-marketing for Carhartt: "It's our job to continue to deliver leading work wear for people who do rugged, outdoor work in extreme heat just as we do in extreme cold."

The company is coming off its biggest one-season campaign last fall, an effort that showed life in the Alaskan tundra and appeared on cable channels including ESPN and the History Channel and during MLB postseason games on TBS. WPP's Team Detroit handled that campaign, which focused on Carhartt's Quick Duck outerwear line.

Carhartt's been mum on details about the new ad, but it's safe to say with Mr. Cianfrance's touch it will probably be raw and dramatic. One interesting detail? There won't be any dialogue.

A company rep said this via email: "Carhartt is going into real places with real people who are doing real jobs. We will find a variety of men and women who do the blue-collar justice, and who, even in the simplest moments of their job, can fascinate us."

Here's an ad from the fall:

Here's the"Blue Valentine" trailer

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