The Drum Awards for Marketing - Extended Entry Deadline

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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

September 29, 2016 | 3 min read

You really want that job and you are pretty much willing (within reason, of course) to do whatever it takes to get it. What about climbing a mountain? Well, that seems unreasonable — unless, of course, it’s a job with Columbia Sportswear. The Portland, Oregon outdoor company is on the hunt for a new “Director of Toughness” and, in a new effort, created by Portland indie North, applicants literally must climb a mountain (to Palmer Glacier on Oregon’s Mt. Hood) for the second part of their interview.

The adventure starts with a “normal” interview at Oregon’s Timberline Lodge — but interviewees are then told that the next part is up on the mountain’s south side. After being handed backpacks, off they go — and eventually arrive to meet the tough HR person, who is quick, looks like he’s related to John Corbett, and filled with barbs and comebacks to challenge applicants. There are several uncomfortable (tough?) moments — but, hey, these applicants signed up for this, right?

Last year, the company had two “Directors of Toughness” who made their way to Uganda, Ecuador and Chile to test out Columbia’s gear in all kinds of conditions. This year, the company will again have two winners ($39,000 nine-month salary, benefits and, of course, travel, according to CNBC) who will chronicle their adventures on platforms including Instagram and YouTube.

Tough is a theme that runs through the company — has since its inception — and is a source of pride among us Oregonians. Company matriarch, 92-year-old Gert Boyle has long had a reputation of toughness — from her incredible back-story to the well-received (and successful Tough Mother) campaigns from the 1980s that North revived last year.

Future interviews for Columbia’s “director of toughness” will continue at other challenging (yet to be disclosed) locations around the world.


Project Name: Director of Toughness

Columbia Sportswear

Chief Marketing Officer - Stu Redsun

​Senior Manager of Advertising & Media - Natalie Hayes

Director of PR & Communications - Scott Trepanier


Chief Creative Officer - Mark Ray

Executive Creative Director/ Art Director - Luke Perkins

Creative Director/ Copywriter - Aaron Robnett

Art Director - Kaleen Anderson

Executive Producer - Steve Rauner

Content Producer - Matt Genz

Print Producer - Peter Calandra

Strategic Director - Jordan Delapoer

Brand Director - Kelly Quinn, Alex Gatewood & Derek Muller

Editorial Producer - Matt Genz

Editor - Kelly Brickner Lyon

Production Company - Big Block

Director Josh + Vince

Executive Producer - Geno Imbriale

Line Producer - Justin Towery

Sound Design/Mix - Digital One

VFX - Pinata Post

Modern Marketing Columbia Sportswear Portland

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