Marketing Women in Sport Gender Equality

The North Face celebrates female explorers and highlights those who ‘Move Mountains’


By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

April 3, 2018 | 5 min read

Outdoor apparel company the North Face today (April 3) launched a global initiative focused on women, celebrating a new generation of female explorers.

Ashima Shiraishi

Ashima Shiraishi for the North Face

The ‘Move Mountains’ initiative, developed with Sid Lee LA and the brand, celebrates the stories of those that embody the bold spirit of the brand, hoping to empower the next generation. The push also includes a multi-year outdoor adventure collaboration with Girls Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), a platform for sharing more stories of women in exploration, and a business commitment that impacts everything from representation in advertising campaigns to investment in product design.

The cornerstone of Move Mountains is a series of short films of women who are pushing boundaries, including North Face athletes, alpinist Hilaree Nelson, climbing phenoms Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes, and ultrarunner and activist Fernanda Maciel, narrated by fellow role models who admire them.

The films feature the women pushing themselves to the limits, as Shiraishi does by making rock faces and mountains seem infinitely climbable by her expert skills. Actor Ansel Elgort sings her praises, stating that she trains in the same gym she did as a kid and that others love that they can climb with the best in the world with her.

An anthem film takes bits and pieces from each athlete, but adds clips of women accomplishing great things both personally and professionally, from astronauts to women marching for equality.

To that end, the North Face is also featuring women who are explorers beyond physical exploration, like women’s empowerment advocate America Ferrera, Nasa scientist Tierra Guinn Fletcher, and musician and activist Madame Gandhi, on the brand’s dedicated #SheMovesMountains website.

The North Face is also making a commitment to equal representation of women in all advertising, social media and content moving forward, in an effort to canvas the world with female explorers of all types – artists, athletes, educators and scientists.

“We know better than anyone that there are plenty of women out there who are already accomplishing incredible, inspiring things every day. Yet women and girls don’t see themselves represented as ‘explorers’,” said Tom Herbst, global vice president of marketing at the North Face. We had a simple theory that if women and girls see more role models in exploration, it will create more female role models for future generations.”

To help enable the next generation of women to push boundaries and move mountains, The North Face is announcing a multi-year outdoor adventure collaboration with GSUSA that includes support for the creation of 12 new Girl Scouts outdoor adventure badges with programming ranging from mountaineering and climbing, to backpacking, hiking and trail running for Girl Scouts throughout the United States.

“We are excited to partner with the North Face to help girls challenge themselves, learn about the natural world, and continue the Girl Scout tradition of having life-changing outdoor experiences. Our research shows outdoor experiences are part of fostering leadership skills in girls. This new programming inspires them to create their own outdoor adventures and develop critical leadership skills that prepare them for a lifetime of exploration and success,” said GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo.

To launch the partnership, The North Face is joining with Ferrera, a Girl Scout alum, to increase visibility of role models for girls and encourage them to explore in their everyday lives.

America Ferrera with the Girl Scouts

“The time is now to begin leveling the playing field so that young women and girls grow up seeing women who are already out doing incredible things in the world,” said Ferrera. “I have no doubt women have been doing it for generations, but those stories don’t tend to get told. Which is why I am proud to partner with an iconic brand like The North Face, to bring resources and increased visibility of female role models to young women and help the next generation see what’s possible.

The North Face is also increasing investment in women’s product design, renewing focus on employee development and ensuring closure of the gender pay gap on the athlete team. In the US, the company is giving a new $250,000 grant program focused on enabling female exploration. This new annual grant program will honor Ann Krcik, who was a long-time leader at the North Face and one of the founders of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition.

The North Face is also expanding its women’s product offerings and will open two women-specific stores in 2018 in Minnesota and California.

The North Face: She Moves Mountains by Sid Lee

By The North Face

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Marketing Women in Sport Gender Equality

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Sid Lee

Sid Lee is a multidisciplinary creative collective striving to make a difference and celebrate culture with bold ideas. Its 700 professionals work as one team from offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Seattle. Their mission is to create what matters through brand building, brand expression and brand experience. Its creative community also includes Yard, Digital Kitchen, BIMM and Haigo.

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