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Creative Director’s Choice: Superunion’s Ross Clugston on Patagonia’s environmental Takayna Project


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

September 20, 2018 | 3 min read

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

Patagonia's Takayna Project

Patagonia's Takayna Project is chosen as this week's Creative Director's Choice

This week, Superunion North America executive creative director Ross Clugston talks about Patagonia’s Takayna Project, a film project which looks to save a valuable rainforest area in Tasmania by making it a World Heritage site.

Too many campaigns these days are doing the same thing - selling stuff using old methodologies to create campaigns about products people need a reason to care about. Building 30-second commercials that rely too heavily on punchlines instead of real storytelling. Patagonia does the opposite. They don’t make ads, they craft narratives about communities and are one of the few brands that understand their customers are craving an emotional connection that goes beyond the product.

They aren’t selling a fleece or a wetsuit, they are teaming up with the Bob Brown Foundation to try to save one of Australia’s most culturally and environmentally significant wild places: Takayna /Tarkine. They partnered with Keith Malloy to tell stories about people’s deep connections with the ocean.

Patagonia’s product always takes a secondary role in its communications, to the point where I’ve found myself asking – why wouldn’t I buy a Patagonia wetsuit instead of a RipCurl wetsuit? I live in Rockaway, NY, I make surfboards and understand the waste equation associated with surfing products. The purchase decision became a no-brainer. When I bought the wetsuit, I bought into the brand’s values and I get taken beyond the ‘Patagucci’ price barrier and past the ugly fleeces. I watch the films with my kid, we go surf, that’s the story.

Ross Clugston is executive creative director of Superunion North America, based in New York.

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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