Patagonia is no stranger to bold Purpose marketing campaigns. From “Don’t Buy this Jacket” to “100% for the Planet,” this is a brand that is not afraid to take a risk to stand up for what it believes in. This week, we saw the company take its boldest stance yet, not only directly calling out the President of the United States for “an illegal move” but also announcing it will sue the administration. Yet, for those who track the company, this endeavor should not come as a huge surprise – in fact, the latest announcement is just the next phase of a multi-year consumer engagement campaign, calling on its informed, loyal consumer base for support.
Following this week’s White House announcement which would reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Patagonia amped up its on-going efforts aimed at protecting the status of the area. The brand’s homepage transformed into a black background stating “The President Stole Your Land.” The site then directed visitors to learn more about how the monuments will be affected, which groups are fighting to protect the land and prompted them to act by tweeting pre-drafted tweets using the hashtag #MonumentalMistake. And fans are making their voices heard. Since launching, the campaign has already inspired over 120,000 people to take action, sending more than 70,000 tweets to President Trump and Secretary Zinke. Yet, this stark stunt shouldn’t be shocking for many of the brand’s consumers. In 2015, in an effort to inspire consumers and the Obama administration to designate the area as a national monument, the company produced “Defined by the Line: A Film About the Fight to Protect Bears Ears” which toured the country, spreading the beauty and relevance of Bears Ears nationwide. To give consumers an even more engaging experience of the land, the company created a microsite dedicated to educating consumers about Bears Ears. The site includes a series of 10 360-degree films illustrating the cultural and recreational significance of Bears Ears to help consumers and the public understand what’s at stake. And when Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution challenging the new designation in February, Patagonia once again called on its fans to voice their support, supplying talking points and patching calls directly to the governor’s office.
Although the newest effort is certainly Patagonia’s boldest move, its support of Bears Ears is four years strong. And throughout this multi-year campaign, the brand has invited consumers to join its journey, providing details explaining the company’s stance and facts to help consumers make informed decisions. By implementing a surround sound approach bringing awareness and offering simple call-to-action tools for consumers, the iconic brand has not only inspired fans, but started a movement among other industry retailers who see Patagonia’s risk rewarded.