Berghaus turns to Instagram for latest ad campaign

How Berghaus is channeling Instagram in brand revitalisation

Outdoor fashion retailer Berghaus has embraced Instagram as the channel to best tempt the public into the wilds as it launches the latest phase of its multi-million pound campaign.

Founded in 1966 in Newcastle upon Tyne by climbers Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison, the brand made its name selling ski and outdoor gear. The pair sold the company onto Pentland Group in 1993, now home to brands including Speedo, Ellesse, Canterbury, Boxfresh and Mitre.

In his first year in the role, Kevin McFadyen, Berghaus brand director, previously of Nando's, O2 and Red Bull, believes that Instagram is where the brand can stand out and break new ground - but to do so he must retread old ground.

As part of brand revitalisation, brand founders Lockey and Davison were redrafted to define the "brand purpose and share what gave it its mojo".

"We went through all the archives, the brand archeology and old product ranges and campaigns. There was so much great stuff there. There is a heritage range launching later this year," says McFadyen, who joked the goal is to get the brand back to the level of fame where thieves "ramraid our warehouse on a weekly basis."

After his fact-finding expedition, McFadyen believes the brand has a "much sharper view of consumers which shaped the latest campaign, which builds upon 2018's 'Time To Get Out' work (below), its first multi-million pound UK advertising campaign.

That work, from VCCP and under head of brand management Chris Tattersall, looked to inspire viewers to enter the outdoors with scenic oil painting ads.

But McFadyen has put his stamp on the concept for the latest iteration by sending six Instagram photographers to the Isle of Skye, and the Lake District to capture the brand in its natural habitat.

"The campaign honed in on a salient human truth in today’s modern world, death by email and Instagram alerts galore; we paired that with the well-known and well-documented benefits of being outdoors. We created some really great copy lines about that," he says.

"We looked at the results of the original campaign and it was not doing as much of a job as it might do. We stayed with the same human truth but moved into something that would personally resonate more with the consumer. Where do you go when you want to escape? That's Instagram."

The photographers were sent out into the world but McFadyen emphasises, this was not an Instagram influencer play.

"We recognise their power and their ability to connect to consumers in that media. Instagram is the place where people are already inspired."

The content will live on Instagram, and on digital and social channels. There will be a limited run of outdoor ads in proximity to retail partners.

Jim Thornton, deputy executive creative director of VCCP, added: "Berghaus has always been an antidote to fads, and a constant throughout changing turbulent times. It's smart, stylish, clothing that does exactly what it's supposed to - keep you dry and warm so you can make the most of your time getting out."

But some brands have fallen in the battle to stand out in outdoor retail. The North Face was recently involved in a scandal where it defaced Wikipedia so images of natural landmarks served up product placements.

Vote for the campaign below in The Drum's Creative Works.

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