Gert Boyle was never afraid to try something different in Columbia Sportswear’s advertising strategy. Not everyone around her necessarily felt the same way at the time. In an interview with David Whitford, Boyle explains that some seriously doubted whether her Tough Mother advertising campaign would work. Nevertheless, she moved the campaign forward, and it moved the company forward, as she explains:
“We did it anyway, and it was successful. Because it’s different. You can look at nine-tenths of the manufacturers of outerwear, skiwear, anything like that—they’re all the same ads. All these gorgeous people who couldn’t possibly do on skis what they’re supposed to be doing. Then you’ve got the little old lady. That’s what sets us apart. Not because we make better clothing, but because the advertising gets your attention.”
Good advertising is usually different from the norm. That doesn’t mean that you are different just to be different. Rather, you are different in a way that captures people’s attention. It is the marked difference that lodges in the memory, and it is the memory that attaches the company to the consumer, and that calls the customer to you.