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.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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