Communing With Nature Is as Simple as Breathing, Says Aigle's Artful Campaign
According to footwear and apparel maker Aigle and its agency, BETC Paris, over 50 percent of the world's population will be living in cities by 2030. This is further weakening our relationship to nature; at the same time, they say, we've never been more thirsty for that connection.
Thus was born "Go Out. Breathe In."
In this near-overwhelming work, an Aigle-outfitted woman walks into a meadow, flanked by mountains and overlooking a lake. There is no sign of human activity anywhere. She breathes in deeply, throwing her arms overhead; the wind seems to respond, leaves caressing the inbreath curvature of her body. When she breathes out, the air she releases makes a long imprint into the fields, rippling through the water.
BETC Paris called this work a reminder of the "importance of a deep breath of fresh air in nature and the almost supernatural power it has on us." That sense of the supernatural is present here, but subtle; actually, there is nothing supernatural about it.
The German language has a word which has entered into common English use: wanderlust. Literally translated as "the pleasure of hiking," it describes something a little more contextual. Sometimes you're driving along from your housebox to your workbox when something comes over you, and you make a turn, someplace offroad. You get out of your car and have a wander. Wanderlust describes a craving for nature that hits you all at once, and to which you must respond.
As the Japanese observe in the tradition of forest bathing, allowing ourselves to become enveloped by natural spaces affects our nervous systems in precisely the opposite way cities do. Our hearts slow, stress descends. All at once, we realize we can breathe—which is easy to forget in a sustained state of tension.
Many of us now have an intimate knowledge of both the craving for, and impact of, nature. Life after Covid was littered with news stories of people "abandoning" cities for the country, even as cities used their vast new emptiness to re-wild. (Paris is a good example, with its aggressive inclusion of more bike lanes and wider green spaces.)
But all this isn't just about observing or being in nature. The act of breathing is a conversation: I inhale oxygen from trees; they "inhale" carbon dioxide from me. "Go Out. Breathe In" is a beautiful illustration of this—when we're craving nature, it's craving us back. We respond to each other, help each other flourish.
With this in mind, our choice to have pushed such interactions to the very edges of human priority seems almost like the betrayal of a living pact. And on some level, we know.
BETC's decision to use breath as the context of the ad, without a single spoken word, is notable for another reason. The languages that currently dominate our global village share a particularity that never existed in the history of human orality: the assumption that humans are the only creatures worth speaking to. Absent a more inclusive tongue, breath may well be the best way to reignite that conversation—that relationship, really—between ourselves and the larger living world.
"Go Out. Breathe In" is supported by out-of-home prints, brought to you by British photographer Laura Coulson. Aigle claims it was the first major brand to go purpose-driven, in 2020 (we hesitate, and think of Patagonia), and would like to become more sustainable. Some 68 percent of its Fall/Winter 2022 collection, created by its artistic trio Etudes Studio, is composed of "eco-designed" products.
The campaign went live in Europe and Asia on Nov. 2. Check out the print work gallery below.
Click the images to enlarge:
Brand Managers: Laetitia Rambaud, Eva Hicheri, Aurelie Saint-Martin, Melanie Pinsolle
Ad Agency: BETC Paris
Agency Managers: Bertille Toledano, Mathieu Laugier, Thomas Maldeme, Lauryanne Sam
Chief Creative Officer: Remi Babinet
Creative Directors: David Martin Angelus, Damien Bellon
Art Directors: Julien Lefevre, Landry Stark
Copywriter: David Campese
Head of Art Buying: Isabelle Mocq
TV Producer: Jennifer Braux
Post Production Print: Sarah Belhadj
Strategic Planners: Clement Boisseau, Louis Chahan
Traffic Manager: Elodie Diana
Production Companies: General Pop x ENTETE
Photographer: Laura Coulson
Cinematographer: Joe Cook
Producer: Thibault Kunz
Post-Production Company: General Pop
Post-Producer: Anne Cribier
Editor: Vincent Marchand
Color Grader: Emiliano Serantoni
Sound Company: Studio Bruit
Music Company: Studio Bruit