Alex Honnold indulges secret passion for thumb wrestling in campaign for Dr. Squatch

The famed climber will be on the Venice Beach Boardwalk on Wednesday—anyone who beats him gets a year's supply of soap

Published On
Jun 06, 2023
Alex Honnold with his hand in a thumb-wrestling ring

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It’s always good when Alex Honnold pops up in a new ad—it means he’s still alive.

And this is a particularly amusing one for Dr. Squatch, in which the famed “Free Solo” climber announces he’s stepping away from climbing (if only) to pursue a lesser-known passion of his—competitive thumb wrestling.

Honnold’s affectless personality works well when the spot is both over-the-top yet also deadpan, as it is here. And it’s good to see him putting his notoriously strong hands to use in a way that isn’t completely frightening to behold.


The video is funny on its own, but the main event is happening on Wednesday (June 7), where Honnold will make an appearance on the Venice Beach Boardwalk for 4-6 p.m., ready to battle all thumb-wrestling challengers. (The brand says Alex “encourages worthy opponents to meet him and succumb to his colossal thumb.”)

Dr. Squatch will give $250 and a year's supply of its natural soap to anyone who can beat Honnold in a thumb-to-thumb showdown. The matches will be hosted by YouTuber George Janko and streamed on Dr. Squatch’s Instagram Stories (@drsquatch).

“While I’ve loved my climbing career, I always had a gut feeling that these strong, famous hands held much greater potential. I’m pausing free solo climbing and moving toward my true passion—thumb wrestling,” said Honnold in a statement. “To excel at such an arduous sport, it takes more than a few hand stretches and knuckle cracks to be the best. Dr. Squatch has been a pivotal part of my journey to get and keep my hands in fighting shape—it’s thanks to them and our partnership that I’ve realized this new passion and found the courage to pursue it.”

(Of course, the whole thing is hogwash—he’s not giving up climbing at all.)

“Alex Honnold embodies the quintessential Dr. Squatch man—bold, brave and unafraid to pursue adventure that leaves you dirty,” said John Ludeke, senior director of brand marketing at Dr. Squatch. “In this case, that’s thumb wrestling. We’re proud to be a part of his new journey and here to ensure that his hands are always ready for the next thumb war. From the moment we met Alex we knew his thumbs were special.”


Jun 06, 2023
Client :
Dr. Squatch
Agency :
Made You Feel
Director :
Kyle Beiermeister

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