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14 - 18 June

How Home Depot is building consumer love with the help of data

Ken Hein

US editor

Shavonne M Clark

senior manager of marketing

Oil man offers slick PR attack on The North Face’s environmental credentials

A Colorado oil and gas firm has issued a PR attack on The North Face after the outdoor goods company denied a sale of 400 branded jackets on the basis of its “brand guidelines and values”. The firm claimed that the entire outdoor industry is propped up on goods created and the transport enabled by the fossil fuels sector.

Unhappy at being rebuffed, Liberty Oilfield Services arranged billboards around The North Face’s Denver office, fueled by a dedicated website and social media campaign designed to tar its nemesis.

‘Thank you, North Face’ saw Liberty Oilfield Services chief executive Chris Wright drill deep into a well of sarcasm to call out what it viewed as the hypocrisy inherent in refusing to provide jackets to a company it did not want to do business with.

This centers on the fact that The North Face is reportedly dependent on oil and gas firms to produce the synthetic materials used in its boots and backpacks, at odds with its public eco-friendly persona. Aware of the issue, The North Face had already committed itself to ‘100 per cent responsibly-sourced apparel fabrics by 2025’.

Speaking to Fox News Business, Wright said: “North Face might realize their ‘oil and gas is evil’ [stance] is kind of silly because my whole lifestyle depends on it, and all the products I enjoy in the outdoors are made out of it.”

Among the billboard attack ads presenting the burning issue to Colorado residents is the message: ‘That North Face puffer looks great on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.’

The North Face has long positioned itself as an eco champion, with Steve Lesnard, global vice-president of marketing at The North Face, saying in 2019: “Leading on product integrity and product sustainability ... is something consumers, particularly in the outdoor space, truly resonate with.”

It’s among the many brands taking a stance on environmental and sustainability issues – however, The Drum recently explored how the public’s not so hot on H&M’s efforts.