The Clif Bar climber comes to life in brand's most significant campaign to date

AOR Callen delivers zany, environmentally-friendly message for the 27-year-old health bar company

Published On
May 14, 2019

Editor's Pick

Today, Clif Bar & Company debuted what it's calling its most significant campaign to date. The “Make it Good” effort touts its 27-year history as a company that cares about the earth, as well as the people on it. Created out of Austin-based Callen, the brand's creative agency of record, it includes its first national TV spot, a whimsical tale that takes viewers on a tour alongside a quirky, bike-riding guide. 

On first impression, the guide seems a bit like a part-time professor who just rolled out of bed, threw an undersize suit on and forget to do something with his overgrown mane. Perhaps that’s because he has more important things to worry about—like the environment.

First stop, a small town, where a TV news report reminds us that the world is on fire. Then he cycles through the woods (where execs in three-pieces are literally killing trees) and across farmland where he reminds us that we need to be kind to other people and not treat them like numbers (oddly, he makes his point by pulling a farmer’s eyebrow off). He tells us that there’s so much bad in the world, but we should be doing more “good." Here, we arrive at an enormous Willy Wonka-style factory, the home of Clif Bar. 

This is where the brand makes its rectangular-shaped food, which the biker matter-of-factly describes as “good and nutritious, not full of poison”—made clear in an extended sequence showing a human guinea pig not eating a Clif Bar but downing a jug of toxic stuff, after which he keels over dead.

“If you prefer bad over good, we’re probably not the product for you,” the guide says. “If you like good things from a company that’s pumped good into the world for 27 years, you should try Clif Bar.”

At this point, he loses his suit for climbing gear, hoists himself up the edge of a cliff and assumes his post as part of the brand’s familiar climbing man logo. 

The new campaign comes as the health bar wars seems to be heating up with messages targeting competitor products' ingredients, not unlike that happening in the beer category

“Our approach was a unique take on simple, bringing the Clif climber to his natural habitat: the forest, the mountains, nature,” said Craig Allen, founder and CCO of Callen. “Our goal was to make something as unique and great as the Clif Company itself.” 
“We’ve been unwaveringly optimistic that sustaining our people, communities and the planet is not only good for business but it’s simply better for everyone,” added Gary Erickson, founder and co-CEO of Clif Bar & Co. “By remaining an independent, family and employee-owned organic food company, we can make long-term investments to benefit people and help lessen our footprint on the planet. We hope to inspire others for more positive action in their communities. That’s why ‘Make it Good’ isn’t just a tagline–it’s a call to action.”

The "Make It Good" effort features 90- and 30-second versions of the climber ad and will air during the NBA playoffs. The campaign will also include live events, social media,  and cinema ads. Consumers can find out more about the brand's "Make It Good' promise on its website.

Director Andreas Nilsson of Biscuit Filmworks, who had worked with former W&K ECD Allen on Old Spice ads was behind the spot, while Oscar-winning set designer Paul Austerberry (“Shape of Water”) contributed to the spot’s set designs.