Despite being lampooned in Monty Python's Flying Circus and glamorized in Paul Bunyan, the image of the all-American lumberjack continues to hold a mystique. Timber sports competitions at the collegiate and open level abound and are enormous draws; in fact, the Lumberjack World Championships will be held at the end of this month in Hayward, Wisconsin. Tool maker Stihl also sponsors its own series of competitions, which can be streamed on ESPN3.
And just as never having run a marathon hasn’t stopped people from wearing UnderArmour clothing and Nike shoes, there are plenty of men out there sporting bushy beards, plaid shirts, jeans and work boots on city streets -- and they’ve never touched a saw.
According to MediaPost Marketing Daily, hearty-meals brand Dinty Moore, which was itself named after a lumberjack, is poking fun at the metrosexuals who affect rugged garb — dubbed “lumbersexuals” — by trying to turn them into lumberjacks.
For the video- and social media-driven campaign, the brand hired a real lumberjack, named Adrian Flygt (yep, that is his name), to train some lumbersexuals in the skills of the trade. The plan is to have the lumbersexuals compete on July 15 in the Stihl Timbersports U.S. Pro & Collegiate Championships in Chicago, known as “the Olympics of timbersports.” The event’s competitions include wood chopping, axe throwing and sawing.
None of which these guys can do. In fact, with jobs such as an interior house painter, an IT professional, a wedding photographer and an “avid role-playing gamer,” it’s doubtful many have even held an axe, let alone competed with it.
Not surprisingly, many demonstrate concern about their looks and their hair in the midst of trying to perform demanding feats like hitting a target with an axe or manually sawing through a large tree trunk.
It is up to Flygt to make pithy comments, including “They think about looking good like if it makes a good selfie, not looking good like, ‘Am I able to do my logging right?’”
A campaign site, moorejacks.com, offers clips from the casting for the campaign, long- and short-form videos of the training sessions, the bios, and links to share the content via Facebook or Twitter.
Users are also being encouraged to tag their lumbersexual friends with #moorejacks.
The videos are also on Dinty Moore’s YouTube channel.
While the championships begin this weekend, it is never too soon to try to understand the allure of the profession (of the lumberjack, not the lumbersexual) by binge-watching shows like the History Channel’s Ax Men or Family Chops.
There’s no telling whether the media campaign will feed into an increased demand for timber sports events – but it’s a sure bet that companies like Stihl are hoping for a bump.