As Outdoor Industry leads quest for more sustainable practices, Oil & Gas targets TNF as salve for recent bad news.
Apparently, the outdoor industry’s sustainability initiatives are starting to make waves with the oil and gas industry.
A seemingly small and benign act by The North Face in the name of brand purpose has been leveraged into a PR lightning strike by the oil and gas industry, making the outdoor apparel giant the face of “crazy hypocrisy” about the industry’s use and reliance on oil and gas-based products in its manufacturing.
Innovex Downhole Solutions, a Houston-based oil/gas well services company with 100 employees, says it was denied an order of jackets by The North Face as Christmas presents for their employees because Innovex is an oil and gas business.
In response, this week, Chris Wright, the CEO of Denver-based Liberty Oilfield Services, launched a “Thank You, North Face” campaign, with seven billboards around The North Face's Denver offices, a campaign video, website, and social media campaign.
The campaign is a classic Lightning Strike as outlined in the book Play Bigger–a PR-driven event designed to reveal and champion an issue or point-of-view and your leadership of it.
Why is it called a Lightning Strike?
Literally, a lightning strike is a force of nature. They are rare, quick, precise bursts of energy that disrupt; They earn attention because they make a lot of noise that reverberates throughout the area and have the potential to start a fire. They’re also a little scary.
Metaphorically, a Lightning Strike campaign is also designed to disrupt, make noise, earn attention, and light a fire among your target audience: internal, external, or both simultaneously.
It will be interesting to see if/when/how The North Face responds. The Thank You, North Face campaign opens a door and provides a platform for a larger conversation about the brand's sustainability initiatives, as well as an invitation to highlight why oil & gas has decided to target the outdoor industry, particularly in the face of all the bad news for climate change deniers/fighters in Oil & Gas lately:
Ad legend John Hegarty judges big ideas on three criteria: Is it memorable, is it motivating, and is it truthful? In the battle of ideas and strategies, Lightning Strikes achieve all three in a way that will reverberate for a long time to come.
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