Altitude Sports celebrates the new found respect for doing more outdoors

Who: Altitude Sports, with strategy and creative by Neil Frisby (Never Home), art direction by Super Bonjour; photography by Mathieu Fortin of L’Éloi, video production by Baillat and Madame Brown, media by CloudRaker.

What: “New Found Respect,” a campaign for the online-only sporting goods retailer inspired by the increased interest in, and appreciation for, outdoor activities resulting from the pandemic.

When & Where: The spring campaign starts today (April 7) and includes outdoor/transit in the Toronto and Montreal neighbourhoods where same day/next day delivery is available. That’s supported by online video (three different :30s with cutdowns), and social/digital also focused on Montreal and Toronto.

Why: Spring in Canada is always a good time for outdoorsy brands, but the appetite for outdoor activities and sports has increased significantly during the pandemic—and, of course, Altitude has all the gear for those who want to do more outdoors. “The demand for outdoor goods has never been higher. There are already inventory challenges for certain categories, such as biking,” said Altitude’s director of brand, Marie-Helene Zaurrini.

Altitude wanted to lean into that new appreciation for things previously taken for granted, with tone and messaging that would break through and reflect the Altitude attitude. “There is something edgier with Altitude Sport than our competition, so we really wanted to push that even further,” said Zaurrini. “We wanted to create an insight and cultural slogan that had a distinctive and modern aesthetic in terms of the executions.”

How: Most outdoor sporting goods brands use action shots and footage, said Zaurrini. Altitude wanted to do something different to stand out.

Rather than zoomed out action shots, the Altitude ads zoom in for portraits that capture the emotion of the moment when an individual realizes their new found respect for the outdoor activity. “We purposefully wanted to break through the clutter to garner attention, to have people stop and pay attention because [the ads] differentiate from the codes of our industry,” she said.

The creative features the words “New Found Respect….” above an image of a person engaged in an outdoor activity, with a series of payoff lines including “for runner’s high,” “for summit views,” “for wind in the face,” etc.

Altitude enlisted Frisby, who started his agency Never Home in the pandemic’s early days with a specific goal of helping outdoor brands, to bring the concept to life.

“This is why we went to them, we wanted someone who knew the codes [for outdoor sporting retail] but also had a background from other major brands and could bring us elsewhere and further,” said Zaurrini. “Never Home’s mandate was to find a territory that only Altitude could own.”

With that vision set, Super Bonjour was called in to art direct the vision. “They really went deep into thinking though each shot… It was not a spontaneous shoot where we have people outside and we capture those moments,” said Zaurrini. “Every shot was extremely well thought through to really have a strong aesthetic you maybe wouldn’t expect from an outdoor retailer”

Beyond the ads: The focus at launch is on biking, hiking, camping and running, but according to Altitude, “New Found Respect” has a wide range of applications—from slower living, to physical and mental health and appreciation for nature. It could even be used for larger issues beyond Altitude’s offerings, such as racial justice and gratitude for daycare workers, said Zaurrini. “I can tell you I have a new found respect for them, having worked with my kids at home for two months.”

And we quote: “Each element of the creative is designed to evoke a specific moment in time and the emotion around re-appreciation for outdoor activities… Within the campaign we have integrated the best-performing brands offering durable and credible outdoor style with an urban fashion aesthetic.” —Louis-Dominic Parizeau, vice-president of marketing at Altitude Sports.

David Brown