Wednesday, January 18

The State of Patagonia and Utah

Patagonia has really never been afraid to take a stand, that is for sure. And from a marketing perspective, all of the issues that the company has tackled through the years have been consistent with what the brand is all about.

Like donating all of the profits from Black Friday to environmental causes.

Like closing operations on Election Day so that people can go out and vote for the candidates that support the same issues.

Like advertising that once you buy a Patagonia jacket, you had better like it for life because that's how long it's going to sustain.

So it's no wonder then that the company and brand is now going after the State of Utah, for a very specific reason. The legislators there are looking to repeal an order that Obama put into place to conserve land and create a national monument. Many thought that Obama stepped out of bounds while others applauded the effort to protect the land.

No matter your POV, Patagonia decidedly has one and it's putting its marketing muscle behind it. A great example of a brand putting its resources behind what it believes is public good...and presumably so do the brand's consumers.

What do you think? What's your experience?  JIM.


  1. A few comments:
    1. Obama did not put any law in place. Obama cannot make law. I believe you reference an Executive Order. This is tyranny, and should be opposed by all Americans on principle alone.
    2. Concerning the strategic benefits of involving brands in raw politics, the case is far from clear. The market appears to be splitting into products for the differing political views, so it may be smart to choose a side and be their choice. The object here should be to make the correct choice, because - as in this case - for every customer this type of grandstanding gains, a Patagonia loses other customers, such as myself.
    The calculation of customer attracted vs customers who will never consider the brand again due to their politics is a far from simple one.
    A quick look at an electoral map and the associated demographic data does not make this look like an obvious political choice.
    If I were a brand manager I would not be happy using the word "presumably" in my strategy.

    1. Thanks for correcting that fact that it wasn't a "law," I appreciate that. And I would agree that this is a form of consumer targeting in that not everyone will agree and may abandon the brand while others will so aggressively applaud the movement that they will become brand loyalists. Thanks for the comments. JIM