Where will the ‘new generation of female explorers’ take The North Face’s business?
Hearing that women often feel misrepresented in much of advertising, The North Face launched “Move Mountains,” a campaign celebrating the “new generation of female explorers.”
The brand also committed to equal representation of women in all advertising, social media and content moving forward.
As would be expected in a typical campaign from The North Face, Move Mountains features many of the explorer-athletes associated with the brand, including alpinist Hilaree Nelson, climbing phenoms Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes and ultrarunner and activist Fernanda Maciel.
But the campaign also features other kinds of “explorers,” including NASA scientist Tierra Guinn Fletcher, musician and activist Madame Gandhi, and America Ferrera, the star of Ugly Betty and women’s empowerment advocate.
“Women and girls don’t see themselves represented as ‘explorers’,” said Tom Herbst, global VP of marketing, in a statement. “We had a simple theory that if women and girls see more role models in exploration, it will create more female role models for future generations.”
The North Face is also collaborating with the Girl Scouts of the USA, opening two women-focused stores and expanding its female exploration grants program.
The campaign comes as gender equality movements in advertising are striving to not only reduce objectification and stereotypes, but make sure women are portrayed accurately.
Last year, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) formed the #SeeHer initiative to address the related unconscious bias that persists in advertising, media and programming. The group found 40 percent of women don’t identify with the women they see in ads and 90 percent of parents are concerned that there are no role models for girls in TV programming.
In a recent column for Campaign Live, Heather Andrew, the chief executive of Neuro-Insight, the market research firm, wrote that brands approaching diversity often play it too cautiously to avoid offending anyone. Her firm finds that seeing women in traditional roles in ads, however, sometimes works well for the brand.
“There is no clear right or wrong,” Ms. Andrew wrote. “In terms of effectiveness, stereotypes can work and, conversely, more non-conformist depictions don’t necessarily equate to a greater impact. What matters is getting a context that is meaningful and believable.”
- The North Face Launches Global Effort to Celebrate the New Generation of Female Explorers – The North Face
- Move Mountains – The North Face
- The North Face Pledges To Show More Women In Ads – Advertising Age
- Our brains are open to all kinds of gender representations – as long as they’re believable – Campaign Live
- Gender equality movements in advertising are making gains – The Drum
- Reality Check: New Equality Measure Targets Gender Bias in Ads and Media – Association of National Advertisers
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of North Face’s Move Mountains campaign? What advice would you have for portraying women in advertising in conventional versus unconventional roles?