Petzl: Print Ads

Campaign Concept Photo Art Direction Graphic Design


When Petzl approached us with the challenge of promoting their team in a simple form that would work internationally, we jumped at the chance to send the project. We identified Chris Sharma, Beth Rodden, Lisa Rands and Timmy O’Neil—all climbing legends with inspiring resumes in the vertical world—as the cultural heroes of the campaign. The result was an ad campaign that earned the respect of the folks at the French headquarters, which is both a high bar to hit and high praise in this culture.

To showcase them in an identifiable, but distinct way we focused on their hands. Emphasizing the toughness and strength of their climbing tools, as well as pairing them with an animal that represents their style, we constructed a visual with powerful, credible messaging. The crux was tracking them all down at the same time. So, tactically, we turned a hotel room at the Outdoor Retailer show into a photo studio to create a budget and timeline efficiency, then dialed in the campaign with a few rounds of design work back at our shop.

If you are keeping score at home, Sharma’s spirit animal was an ape due to his power and ape index. Beth Rodden registered as the butterfly, due to her petite stature and amazing strength-to-weight-ratio. Lisa Rands, known as a bouldering phenom known for powerful lunges to sloper holds and sticking them, earned the octopus designation. And Timmy O'Neill, famous within the climbing community for being wired and high energy, adopted the persona of the flying squirrel.