Columbia Sportswear has unveiled “Tested Tough,” a new long-term global brand platform, which also marks the return to advertising of the company's 91-year-old matriarch and chairman of the board, Gert Boyle. Tested Tough is inspired by Columbia's Pacific Northwest heritage and the original “Tough Mother” campaign, which also features the founder along with her son and current chief executive, Tim Boyle.
The new campaign stresses the durability of Columbia's outdoor apparel and footwear, which it boasts are built to endure the harsh weather in the brand's native Pacific Northwest. While Gert Boyle will be the most outstanding testimonial for the campaign, Columbia employees will be posting YouTube videos around the “Tested Tough” theme.
The Tested Tough campaign kicked off on Oct. 9, and has been described by Columbia as the largest global campaign in its history, by global reach and by budget - $50 million. The campaign includes broadcast, print, digital, retail and social elements rolling out in 63 markets across Europe, Asia, South America and North America. The Tested Tough slogan will appear prominently in ads and shopping bags as well as in #TestedTough tagging on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Digital ads this autumn will be targeted to geographical markets based on those markets' weather.
In connection with this new brand campaign, Columbia has hired two adventurers as “directors of toughness,” who will be traveling the globe for the next six months while testing Columbia products. They are Lauren Steele, an ultrarunner and writer, and Zach Doleac, an adventure traveler and sports photographer. Steele and Doleac will be broadcasting their adventures across social media.