When Gert Boyle stepped into the role of president and eventually chairman of Columbia Sportswear following the untimely death of her husband and business owner, she had to be willing to take courageous risks. This can be especially true with advertising. Boyle reflects on the effectiveness of a bit of an off-the-wall campaign, Tough Mother (“How Did I Get Here?: Gert Boyle” Bloomberg Businessweek, 3/14/16–3/20/16, p. 84):
“We started advertising in 1984 with the Tough Mother campaign. In one, I put my son, Tim, through the car wash and said, ‘That’s the way we test our garments.’ Sales shot up.”
The best advertising leaves the product sticking in your mind. Tough Mother certainly made that happen for many customers. It was a case of the off-the-wall advertising campaign that puts customers within your walls.