Columbia's Gert Boyle Is Back, and Employees Are Bearing the Brunt of It

Brand's Biggest Ever Ad Effort Will Run Across 63 Markets

Published On
Oct 08, 2015

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Columbia's 91-year-old matriarch and chairman, Gert Boyle, returns in a humorous global campaign for the outdoor brand emphasizing the tough testing to which its products are subjected. The company's biggest ever ad effort, which will run across 63 markets, updates the famous Columbia ads of the '80s and '90s, in which Mrs. Boyle, whom Ad Age had named one of the 100 most influential women in advertising, appeared as a Tough Mother and ensured the product quality was up to her stringent standards by testing them on her son, CEO Tim Boyle.

In the new TV spots, Columbia employees are subjected to snow, ice and wind as they go about their duties at its offices in the Pacific Northwest. That includes, as seen here, spending hours on a cold ski lift, only to be delivered pizza by an unsympathetic Boyle, or visiting the bathroom in full polar gear, or doing the photocopying -- outdoors.

The campaign, by Portland branding agency North, also includes a digital hub at Columbia.com/TestedTough. As well as hosting the films, it will serve as a destination for consumers to share their #TestedTough moments, by uploading a photo directly or tagging a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.