Planet’s “Upgrade” Ads for Bontrager Sweat the Details

Madison, Wis. — Playing on the fears and aspirations of serious cyclists, Planet Propaganda matches tight, saturated, fashion-quality photos of Bontrager’s wheels and components with a simple challenge: “Upgrade.” Designed as single-page and spread formats, each ad remains steadily focused on a single, precisely engineered element and the unspoken threat that if you don’t have Bontrager; you may be at a disadvantage.

“Competitive riders are constantly tweaking their gear,” observes Planet Propaganda’s president Rob Sax. “It’s all about sweating the details, not overlooking a single thing. It’s in how they prepare. It’s getting the most out of themselves and out of every component — from the wheelset to the seatpost. They’re always tweaking, always upgrading.”

“We let the products do the talking in a visual way that speaks to the clean, technical, precise detail of each.” To capture this, Planet’s creative director Dana Lytle and designer / art director Dave Taylor worked closely with photographer Jeff Salzer and in near-constant collaboration with Bontrager’s Brand Manager Dean Gore.

Sax explains, “We took solid white bikes and decked them out in all the different Bontrager parts. Then in the opposing image, we zoomed in on a single, key feature and made it the hero of the ad. It’s product as art — plus only the word ‘Upgrade’. That’s it. It’s almost stupid simple and hopefully the reader can’t help but be drawn in.”

Appearing in core cycling and racing magazines, Bontrager’s “Upgrade” 2007 campaign reveals a total of six product close-ups.

Planet Propaganda is a design, advertising and interactive company committed to shaping passion-based brands. Founded in 1989 in Madison, Wis., Planet’s national clients include Gary Fisher mountain bikes, Bretford furniture and workspaces, PunchStock images, and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. For more information, please visit