Patagonia Action Works

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Patagonia Action Works

Patagonia does not have a traditional advertising approach as they do not advertise or advocate for the purchase of their products. Patagonia's advertising focuses on people and experiences with a heavy focus on protecting the environment in which those experiences occur. Through Action Works, Patagonia built an impactful way to create connections between environmental communities and grantees that are more "meaningful and diverse" than other clicktivism platforms and less restrictive than traditional activism. Their advertising follows the same philosophy in that they do not advertise for purchase of their products but instead use cause marketing that focuses on individuals experiences in nature and highlights the importance of protecting the environment.
A lot of their communications are on their website, social media pages, and YouTube. We included print articles that discuss Patagonia campaigns and one that is an exclusive interview with the company founder, Yvon Chouinard. The company does not run print advertising campaigns likely due to their extremely strong views on protecting and restoring forestry and their commitment to Green Marketing. We discuss some examples of their digital and social media campaigns and their connections to the Action Works initiatives.

PRINT

  • An article in Marketing Week describes the social activism campaigns of Patagonia including its Save the Blue Heart campaign to preserve the Balkan river network in Eastern Europe, the last of Europe's wild rivers. This initiative targeted the 3,000 hydro-powered projects in the Balkan's region and presented a 120,000-strong petition that they presented to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They also describe the Action Works digital platform and its European rollout in spring 2019.
  • Medium Marketing describes the Patagonia website as a place for people to not only purchase their products but get information, interaction, and activism on topics, linked partnerships that engage consumers and unique content that allows individuals to become activists. They also describe how the company advertises its ecological action initiatives on its website. Social media and lifestyle marketing is attributed to their success.
  • Founder Yvon Chouinard gave an exclusive interview with Fast Company titled "Patagonia is in business to save our home planet", which is the company's new mission statement. The article discusses how it has expanded its used clothing program, amped up investing in sustainable startups, launched an activist hub (Action Works), and taken the Trump administration to court over its environmental lands policies. He is very blunt in his calls for urgency of individuals and companies, in particular, to address the environmental crises and work on causes instead of symptoms.
  • In the Fast Company interview, Chouinard also addresses the importance that every one of their employees has in their mission, and their choice of brand ambassadors goes beyond just being good athletes but also strong and vocal environmental advocates. They dedicate resources to agriculture, politics, and protected lands across the world.

DIGITAL

DOCUMENTARIES
  • Patagonia made a documentary called Artifishal that was featured in Native Ads to highlight ways to protect wild fish and the truth about devastating costs of hatcheries, fish farms, and the "willful ignorance of scientific fact" for political reasons. This documentary supports their Action Works initiative to protect and preserve the natural state of the land.
  • Patagonia has established themselves as a "premier brand documentarian". Blue Heart is an indie documentary called Blue Heart which is a full content campaign that aims to reveal truths about dams and hydro-power. It gives information about the importance of the Balkans and the last wild rivers, and is a call to action to stop their destruction.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • The company uses their numerous grassroots environmental initiatives in the content of their social media postings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and their company blog. They also post about individuals enjoying the environment and experiences and environmental and political information.
YOUTUBE
  • Most of the company's videos on their YouTube channel and social media pages are not the typical short product ads but instead 20-minute long videos dedicated to "overtly political calls to action" and others that demonstrate the brand's commitment to people, their experiences, and the importance of the environment in those experiences.
  • The company is found to use their YouTube channels to educate viewers about nature and sustainability, Action Works initiatives, and videos dedicated to the safe use of their products.
INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK
  • Patagonia has been acknowledged for their content that ties back to their environmental focus and the initiatives described by Action Works. Instagram is one of their most popular channels with over 3.6 million Instagram followers, and posts of photos and inspirational stories relevant to outdoor lifestyles however none related to their products. It has been pointed out that Patagonia only posts a picture of their products when they are first launched.
  • They have 412,000 Twitter followers and active users that retweet and respond to their posts that revolve around "nature, national parks, voting or conservation efforts", all relating back to their Action Works initiatives.
  • Saving Martha is a video on Instagram for their initiative to save Tasmania waters and bring attention to the effects of the fishing industry, one of Action Works current campaigns.
  • Facebook posts highlight the good effects of communities coming together to protect the environment, and one post with a picture of surfer talks about surfer advocates in places such as Punta de Lobos, and provides a link for other coastlines that need defending. This connects directly with the Action Works initiative to protect the peaks.
TWITTER
  • They have 412,000 Twitter followers and active users that retweet and respond to their posts that revolve around "nature, national parks, voting or conservation efforts", all relating back to their Action Works initiatives regarding protecting the land, land use, and conservation.
  • The company shares posts across its platforms, and it also retweets information from other sources regarding environmental concerns. One post on Twitter is the company's direct response to the current administration's weakening of the Endangered Species Act, an action that goes against their initiative of Action Works of biodiversity and species preservation.

TELEVISION

OUT OF HOME MARKETING

  • Patagonia's out-of-home marketing is not typical billboards highlighting their products but instead the used giant murals in London with messages asking people to "think twice" before buying products.

STRATEGY

In the first six months, Patagonia's initiative to spur their informed and engaged customer base resulted in 121,000 meaningful advocacy actions such as skills-based volunteering, event attendance, petition signatures, and direct donations which generated $1.9 million in value creation. It also created 1.6 billion impressions and 350,000-plus user sessions. ActionWorks works to address issues regarding land, water, climate, communities, and biodiversity.
Specific initiatives for each of those categories were identified on their website. Additionally, the ActionWorks website lists their current campaigns to be to Protect Your Peaks to address all issues that affect coastlines and the future of waves, Protect Wild Fish, Save the Clean Water Act, a call for action regarding the threats of the current administration on public lands and waters, protecting the Arctic Refuge and standing with the Gwich'in, protecting Tarkine which is one of the last untouched tracts of rainforest, and saving boundary waters.
We examined the company's communications and advertisements and identified ways that their recent advertising campaigns incorporated some of those specific initiatives and goals.

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