In April, The North Face announced the introduction of their Move Mountains campaign, an initiative to equalize representation of men and women in the outdoor brand’s video production and advertising efforts. While the idea of portraying women in ads isn’t new, few brands truly commit to including them in their marketing. In fact, in the #MeToo and #TimesUp era many brands are choosing not to show women at all for fear of hitting the wrong note.
The North Face is taking an entirely different approach, pledging to create advertising that not only includes both genders equally, but truly portrays them as equals— an important point when we consider how often women are treated as props in ads.
“We feel like we have a responsibility and opportunity to help this new generation see more role models,” North Face VP of Global Marketing Tom Herbst told AdAge.
Move Mountains is designed to kick off the wider initiative by focusing entirely on the types of strong and inspiring women the brand will highlight in all of their advertising moving forward. The campaign focuses on five women— athletes and engineers— who represent the brand throughout. While The North Face’s approach to introducing their five new female brand ambassadors is fresh and empowering, their approach to creating unified branded content across multiple touchpoints is equally exciting.
The 45-second hero piece is eye-catching, fast-paced, and sets a dominating tone for the campaign. We see snippets of the women in action— climbing boulders or floating in anti-gravity, for example— that hint at their stories to come.
From the hero, a freestanding piece is created around each new ambassador, and the beauty of the campaign really lies in how those stories are connected to the social media user generated content (UGC) drive. To ground Move Mountains in the goal of introducing role models, each new ambassador’s story is told by a friend who admires them, breaking free of the docu-style interview trend that has become ubiquitous in digital branded content.
The same is true of the UGC campaign, where audiences are asked not to post pictures of themselves, but of women they admire with captions telling their followers why. To date, there are nearly 8000 posts in the #SheMovesMountains hashtag on Instagram.
The entire campaign lives neatly on a microsite, where users can explore all of the female brand ambassadors’ stories and— of course— buy their gear. But while creating a digital home for the content makes the campaign easy to navigate, the thread is easy to understand even when each video is viewed on its own.
The video production creates a cohesive look and feel across spots, moving the viewer seamlessly from the hero to the individuals. Sporadic use of black and white in all the videos lends itself to the black and white only UGC campaign, a visual cue that makes the #SheMovesMountains hashtag feed feel beautiful and curated despite coming from thousands of photographers and sources. Each piece of the campaign’s content– by virtue of consistent aesthetics— feels organically linked to the next.
With the brand tackling a topic as important and current as representation and empowerment of women, having a strong 360º campaign allows them to add depth and reach to their content. Instead of one-off social posts, the North Face has created a series of unified pieces that are as beautiful as they are powerful.
Achieving this level of cohesion across media can only happen when a brand approaches their campaign with a clear perspective. A singular goal— beyond just selling product— leads the way, while the right video production agency can help brands marry their mission with a logical visual style and strong storytelling.
Other brands, take notice: the Move Mountains campaign does far more than just sell The North Face’s clothing. The campaign’s output is inspiring, empowering, and heartwarming. The brand’s mission to put role models in front of young women is clearly realized through strong storytelling, connective threads, and an unwavering visual perspective, and is the perfect way to launch their pledge to represent women going forward.
We were so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity to create a promotional video that calls women to participate in National Women’s Build Week. We featured the faces of strong, intergenerational women, and portrayed the women as builders–of legacies, of communities, of trust, and much more. We encouraged women to build each other up by using the hashtag #buildher.