Creative Director’s Choice: Mechanica's Libby DeLana on the North Face’s ‘She Moves Mountains’

Ashima Moves Mountains for The North Face

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Libby DeLana, founding partner and creative director at Mechanica, states why, in the era of the #MeToo movement, the ‘Move Mountains’ campaign by the North Face is timely, empowering and important.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Caroline Paul, author and pioneering female San Francisco firefighter, asked a simple yet poignant question in a recent op-ed that inspired me. Why are girls taught that it is cute to be scared? As female empowerment finally gains the traction it so rightfully deserves, I’ve been thinking hard about that question – and how the time has come to change the way we teach girls to behave.

As a Creative Director, I urge brands not to be scared either, and to take on a role in shaping how girls see themselves. Brands have an incredible opportunity and platform to share authentic and inspired stores about female strength to people who will listen. The North Face is doing this exceptionally well with their ‘Move Mountains’ campaign, celebrating female athletes, creators, educators and explorers, young and old, who push themselves to the limit and become role models capable of changing the world. Capable of “moving mountains.” We don’t often see women portrayed as such strong, courageous, and inspiring athletes, but this campaign makes a commanding statement while staying true to The North Face’s brand identity and adventurous spirit.

In the series of spots, we see athletes like Ashima Shiraishi, a Japanese-American pro-climber who has been passionate about the sport since age six, climbing in colorful Marimekko pants and eyeliner, as she proves to young girls and women alike that she can do anything while staying true to herself. We also see the athletes juxtaposed with commentary from their admirers and imagery from significant moments in women’s history. It’s truly powerful to witness.

I know many women, myself included, find the #SheMovesMountains campaign refreshing and thrilling. It reminds us of the undoubted strength and perseverance of women, both in the climbing world and beyond. This idea has even made its way across The North Face’s business, with a commitment to ensuring female equality and empowerment become essential aspects of their organization and identity through equality in athlete sponsorships and products lines.

To support outdoor exploration and protect the environment, The North Face has also developed the Explore Fund, providing large grants to nonprofits that enable meaningful outdoor experiences. The ‘Move Mountains’ campaign and other forward-thinking efforts represent the brand’s commitment to shaping young women into strong, fearless individuals in a way that would make Caroline Paul proud.

Libby DeLana is founding partner and creative director at Mechanica in Massachusetts.

See the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you would like to feature a creative director in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Creative Works editor Kyle O’Brien.

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