The North Face starts petition to make Earth Day a national holiday

Discussion
Source: The North Face
Apr 22, 2019
Tom Ryan

The North Face last week launched a global petition to make April 22, Earth Day, an officially recognized holiday. Introduced on April 16, the petition on Change.org had gathered more than 100,000 signatures as of this morning.

Fifteen other eco-conscious brands are co-sponsoring the effort, including Clif Bar, S’well and National Geographic.

In its announcement, North Face also said it was activating “Explore Mode” in major cities leading up to Earth Day. Musicians, artists and culinary influencers hosted a series of experiences that would “only be accessible to those who put down their phones and digital devices to be present in the moment.”

The North Face is also shutting down its 113 stores in North America as well as its global headquarters on Earth Day to similarly provide opportunity for employees to disconnect. The retailer handed out Polaroid cameras in stores over the last few days to encourage people to “stay present and capture memories without the need for digital devices.”

The North Face joins Patagonia, Columbia and other outdoor brands in becoming increasingly vocal about environmental and social issues. Since 2015, REI has been closing its stores and doesn’t process online orders on Black Friday to encourage employees and others to enjoy the outdoors.

Source: The North Face

Earth Day is also becoming a bigger marketing day with brands such as Nike and H&M introducing eco-friendly collections this year and other campaigns being launched.

Among the in-store executions:

  • Guitar Center is offering complimentary premium replacement strings for musicians who bring in their guitars for setup service over Earth Day weekend (April 20, 21 and 22);
  • Natural Grocers on Earth Day will be offering a free recyclable bag and gift card giveaway;
  • Best Buy this week is a running a “Colors Worth Earth Day” promotion on big-screen TVs as well as a deal for 40 percent off clearance and open-box items;
  • Target from April 22 to May 4 is offering a 20-percent-off coupon on a new car seat, stroller or select baby gear as trade to anyone bringing in an old car seat to their local Target for recycling.
  • Apple on Earth Day is holding environmentally-themed Today at Apple sessions at all stores.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you give The North Face for building on its Earth Day campaign in the years ahead? Should retailers and brands support the movement to make Earth Day a national holiday and turn it into a bigger marketing event?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"While I'm not sure this will cross the finish line in my lifetime to become a national holiday, it's refreshing to see brands step up and live to their values."
"North Face’s approach is more authentic as by closing stores it is actually pushing a genuine message backed by action."
"Beyond the fact that respecting the earth has never been more important, The North Face is wise to launch an initiative that shares Millennial and Gen-Z values."

Join the Discussion!

18 Comments on "The North Face starts petition to make Earth Day a national holiday"


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Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I like it (and appreciate it) when brands find a cause or message that is congruent with their concept. The North Face is all about the great outdoors, so this makes total sense. If they can bring Earth Day to an even higher level of recognition, I applaud them – and so will their customers!

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

This is part of their – and the other brands quoted — DNA. It speaks to their target customer and the social aspect speaks to Millennials in particular. Whether the drive for a holiday is successful or not, they got their brand out there and people are talking about it.

Using Earth Day as a marketing event is the opposite of what this is about. Stop consuming. Recycle. Go outside.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Persistence. I read scarier stuff every day. Can’t we take an occasional day off from raging consumerism to reflect on what Mother Nature is trying to tell us? Hats off to North Face, REI, Patagonia and … ? Green, sustainable, recycled — all have a growing role in brand promises.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Creating a campaign to establish Earth Day as a national holiday is a great PR idea, but not much else. It is smart to have other brands support this, but in reality it is just another day for us to celebrate, not a true national holiday. There are so many other “causes” which are vying for national holiday status that we almost have to take a pause and reflect at what truly qualifies as a national holiday (what about National Garlic Day or National Donut Day?).

Kevin Graff
BrainTrust

Who wouldn’t support this idea (and who wouldn’t want another day off)?
The North Face and others do this with authenticity. Others seem to just use it as a marketing opportunity (a sale on TVs, really?)

While I’m not sure this will cross the finish line in my lifetime to become a national holiday, it’s refreshing to see brands step up and live to their values. You can’t be in business just to make money these days … you have to stand for something.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Glad to see more brands standing up for core values in actionable ways. Earth Day should be about volunteering on trails, beaches and roadsides. The North Face has an opportunity to do more to mobilize its huge tribe to get something big accomplished.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Bravo to The North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, and other outdoor brands as they are raising the social consciousness around the earth and environmental issues we are all facing. Social responsibility matters with today’s consumer, especially Gen Z and the Millennial segment, as they have grown up in a world where being more conscious matters. Consumers will gravitate to brands that have a greater sense of purpose beyond increasing revenues and profitability.

While it’s commendable to petition for an Earth Day national holiday, every day should be considered “Earth Day.” Its everyone’s responsibility to be more environmentally conscious.

Michael Decker
BrainTrust

Today’s Earth Day is a big one this year thanks to our youngest generations grasping what older generations have and will continue to refuse to acknowledge — until it affects our pockets. Business is no longer just about short-term profit and stock gains. Strategic, long-term gains will never come to today’s non-transparent corporations who willfully destroy our planet with poisons, pollution and plastics to make a quicker buck. Greed is no longer good, Gordon Gecko… Companies like The North Face (and even more so Patagonia) are marketing better CSR strategies by putting their money where their mouth is and making a real difference. Last week’s launch of Li’l Dicky’s Millennial/Gen Z star studded video “Earth” is trending number one on YouTube right now and donating all of its profits to world conservation. It’s a genuine, generational movement. Get on the train or get out of business!

Frank Riso
BrainTrust

The real story here is the marketing event opportunity. I am sure there are many other opportunities for national holidays and Earth Day can get in line for one, however making it a shopping holiday or season might be a better idea.

Chris Angell
Guest

This is great on the surface, but consumers can tell when a brand isn’t being honest. Earth Day and The North Face are a logical pairing, but The North Face must live the message they’re preaching or else they risk being exposed. They must continue to integrate their eco-friendly message into all layers of their business and truly embody what they preach.

Jasmine Glasheen
Staff

Beyond the fact that respecting the earth has never been more important, The North Face is wise to launch an initiative that shares Millennial and Gen-Z values.

Patagonia’s political/environmental efforts have helped the brand nab headlines and gain customer loyalty for years, so it’s not surprising to see other top outdoor outfitters follow in their footsteps.

Bill Hanifin
BrainTrust

We currently have holidays for religious and historical remembrances as well as celebrating individual people who have impacted our nation. Stopping to honor the earth we share and enjoy could qualify as a national holiday. Will it become so? There are many layers to that decision, so who knows!

The part of this conversation that will have an immediate impact is the dialogue being started by The North Face and the other brands mentioned. If you believe that consumers value and are attracted to brands that authentically live out their brand promises (I do), then The North Face can be seen as starting this dialogue for genuine reasons, rather crafting a manipulative marketing campaign.

Unplugging from digital devices and clearing the mind outdoors is one way to stay in the present moment. The campaign is a natural extension of The North Face brand and I hope it continues to receive support.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Some may complain that TNF is just “knocking off” REI, but so what? If REI unleashed the genie, then it’s out of the bottle so, let’s go with it. Spread the good word.

Of course, in this bi-bifurcated society (especially business-wise) we live in, not sure it’s going to happen. Half the companies I’m familiar with don’t even give employees MLK day off for reasons I won’t hypothesis about, but still. There’s enough climate “deny-ers,” especially in the business and political worlds that participation, and enthusiasm to realistically create said holiday, is pretty slim.

So, end of the day, let’s call it PR. But as Madonna once said, “all PR is good PR” so, bravo TNF, keep up the effort towards better awareness vs just selling stuff.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

So far today, I have received a stack of emails from companies “celebrating” Earth Day. Most of them are about trying to sell things while pushing a very mild eco-message. That kind of undermines the whole point of the day which, surely, should be about being non-commercial. North Face’s approach is more authentic as by closing stores it is actually pushing a genuine message backed by action.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Compared to the many emails and notifications I’ve received today on “Earth Day celebration sales,” The North Face is much more authentic in their pleas to all consumers to honor Earth Day. Similarly, the other brands mentioned are wisely using this time to step back from pure consumerism and push an outdoor/environmentally friendly position that everyone should adopt.

Will this help push for a true national holiday for Earth Day? Probably not — as there are likely too many special interests who will initiate an endless debate in government around this. However, Earth Day’s purpose is to bring attention to our planet and what we are doing to it so any debate is better than no debate. Any discussion is better than no discussion so long as we keep the goal in sight — actively doing everything we can to improve and save our environment.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Should a day ostensibly dedicated to respecting the Earth — and implicitly limiting consumption — be “turn(ed) … into a bigger marketing event”? Please. No.

Fredrik Carlegren
BrainTrust

Good for these brands to live their values. That said, I’m not sure it really matters significantly if Earth Day ultimately turns into an official holiday. Most interesting will be if other brands not as closely tied to eco-conscious, environmentally-friendly identities follow suit. In all honesty, many would probably end up doing so for the “wrong” reasons. But that may not matter too much. If a broader societal, cultural arch supporting this cause is underway I hope companies like North Face continue to push that as hard and as long as they can. If my kids are any indication, I think future generations will reward them.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
BrainTrust

My advice to The North Face is continue to be true to — and build — it’s brand through authentic commitment to ecology and social issues, not marketing initiatives.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"While I'm not sure this will cross the finish line in my lifetime to become a national holiday, it's refreshing to see brands step up and live to their values."
"North Face’s approach is more authentic as by closing stores it is actually pushing a genuine message backed by action."
"Beyond the fact that respecting the earth has never been more important, The North Face is wise to launch an initiative that shares Millennial and Gen-Z values."

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