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DONT BUY THIS JACKET


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.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “DONT BUY THIS JACKET

  1. GREAT whip lash title!

    Posted by Jordi | February 14, 2012, 11:25 am
  2. I think this ad is great. I had seen it when it came out, and it immediately catches your eye. Who else would say “Hey, don’t buy the things I make!” It is a great marketing tactic to first catch peoples attention, then entice you to read more because you just don’t understand at first. I did a sustainability project on Patagonia. Their transparency in allowing consumers to see the life of their products from start to finish is an extreme most companies would not be willing to make, in my mind. What also strikes me is, when you look at products that provide a map an item, it also tells the good, the bad and Patagonia’s thinking on it. They’ve got a long track record, like you’ve said Ryan, as being an environmentally responsible company. I think this ad is another step of luring in new consumers while at the same time driving the emotional connection its loyal customers already have.

    Posted by Danielle Marquette | February 14, 2012, 1:34 pm
  3. This ad is so interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company tell their customers not to buy something of theirs. I agree with you when you say this is a win-win situation for Patagonia as it makes them look like the good guys when it comes to being environmentally conscious. Although, it’s hard for me to believe that they really want to turn away potential customers and ultimately, cash. I wonder if something was going on behind the scenes? Or I could just be thinking pessimistically. I give Patagonia props for being bold and taking a different marketing approach. It definitely takes courage — I just hope this marketing tactic was done for the right reasons.

    Posted by Jenna | February 14, 2012, 4:24 pm
  4. Awesome post – the last thing I expected when I saw “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET” in capital letters was that the author of the ad was going to be the company itself that produces this jacket. Talk about a convincing advertisement. I applaud Patagonia for their commitment to the enviornment and sustainability, but I can’t help but question if it is really ethical to subtly throw every other company under the bus that participates in the American tradition of Black Friday. Furthermore, Black Friday is considered one of the most important days of the year for the US economy. The ad clearly discourages spending on this one day, but what if it also establishes a precedent for reduced spending throughout the holiday season. What kind of repercussions would this have on the economy? I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, because I really do think the ad is awesome, but I think there’s definitely important questions to be raised beyond our original enthusiastic reaction to it.

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | February 14, 2012, 9:20 pm

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