On Black Friday this year, Patagonia ran an ad that told customers to not buy their jackets. The ad went on to explain this peculiar statement…….
I’m sure that many of you either saw or heard about this advertisement. It certainly created the buzz that the marketers at Patagonia had hoped for. In my opinion, the ad was genius. I really don’t think that Patagonia lost much business by telling people these things. If anything, people probably realized how harmful a jacket made by an environmentally conscious company like Patagonia was, and now just assume that all other jackets are 10 times worse. I think that Patagonia brilliantly set themselves up for a win-win situation here, where they can maybe even increase their market share while coming out as the good guys. Patagonia had to have realized these advantages when they printed this ad. But were there other, more innocent, motives too? Could they really want to drive their potential customers away?
Last semester, I read the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard’s, book. Aptly titled, Let my People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, the book details Chouinard’s founding of Patagonia. From his humble upbringings to his continual commitment to the Earth, Chouinard shows that Patagonia’s roots are genuine and committed. Patagonia has been donating 1% of its pre-tax profits to the restoration of the environment since 1985, and in 2002, Chouinard started a non-profit to encourage other companies to do the same.
When judging a company’s sincerity in their charity, it is important to look at their track record. With one of the best track records of any business, Patagonia certainly should be recognized for what they have done to help society.