Patagonia Tries Out the "Scarecrow" Effect to Highlight Traceable Down Commitment

Most marketers are challenged with making complex CSR issues understandable and relevant to their consumers – whether it's sustainable palm oil, genetically modified organisms or conflict minerals. Traceable down is one that falls into that category. This week, Patagonia took a creative and bold approach to help consumers understand this multifaceted CSR and animal welfare topic – a short-and-sweet video.

With the winter months almost upon us, responsibly sourced down has become one of the hottest CSR issues. Many companies, including The North Face, H&M and Eddie Bauer, have made commitments to end inhumane treatment of animals for down use. It's no surprise Patagonia is a leader in this space; first acknowledging the issue back in 2007, and finally, in 2014, announcing 100 percent traceable down in all Patagonia products. But to help consumers understand exactly why traceable down is so important, Patagonia borrowed a page from the Chipotle playbook, bringing to life the issue through a short, animated video set to music. The video, entitled "What the Pluck," shows the journey of conventionally harvested down to the soundtrack of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." Patagonia takes this concept one step further, pairing the video with a microsite to give even more details on the traceable down process and a timeline on how the retailer reached its goal.

For companies trying to highlight complex issues, sometimes simple is better. Oftentimes, a video – whether it's a minute or 15 seconds – can tell a powerful story.  And many brands have harnessed this medium to tell CSR or social impact messages in an uncomplicated and shareable way, turning CSR stories into viral sensations.

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