Wooden Canoes in Advertising

pat chapman

Willits biographer
For some reason I've gotten several calls out of the blue recently asking for wooden canoes for advertising photo shoots. First one was for the upcoming Eddie Bauer fall catalog. I provided them with a Willits and an Old Town 50-pounder. I've seen a couple of the proofs of that shoot and it looks like they'll be impressive additions to the catalog, if they make the editor's cut. The only drawback is I wasn't asked to be one of the models. That shoot was at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

The second call was for a single shot in the June Trend catalog for Nordstrom's (an upscale department store). The photographer needed to retake a shot that didn't previously work out using a different boat. So I hauled my Willits to downtown Seattle, snaked it up to his second floor studio, watched him finish shooting some necklaces, then helped set up the Willits. So what was necessary to sell with a Willits canoe? Men's shaving items! Don't look for a recognizable canoe in the catalog - he only used about 1 square foot of the hull, and the shaft of a Willits paddle in the shot. I did feel a need to shave, though, as I watched him compose the shot.

A third call I couldn't help with was for a funeral home campaign. Something about "wouldn't you rather be carrying a canoe and having fun than being hauled off in a casket"?

The only other big-time advertising use of a Willits canoe I'm aware of was for a cigarette brand which appeared in a full page Playboy magazine spread in the 1970s. Talk about pornography!


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