I subscribe to daily emails from ADWEEK.Normally the day is way too busy to read through them, but I clicked on this particular email on Tuesday. Patagonia launched a few ads & digital messages with the headline, "Don't Buy This Jacket." Playing up the environmental appeal to consumers, which can prove risky at times, I think they took a huge leap in basically --- calling themselves out.
If you aren't aware of the context of this ad, Patagonia has a jacket (the R2 Jacket) that uses enough water to meet the daily dietetic needs of 45 people. That's just tipping the iceberg & I won't use this space to relay the rest, but please go read up on it! A further synopsis of the development process of this one jacket can be found here.
The good news is that Patagonia encourages its loyal consumers to "Take the Pledge" by pledging to limit the amount of jackets bought & being sure to recycle a jacket when its worn out. (Patagonia accepts worn jackets & will recycle accordingly.)
"...as is true for all the things we can make and you can buy, this jacket comes with an environmental cost higher than its price," reads the ad copy from Patagonia.
Back to why I chose it as an ad spotlight...
There is a lot of discussion around this campaign. While some think it shows Patagonia's genuine concern for the environment by providing a raw & truthful claim about its own product, others feel that they will benefit from consumer reaction to the ad. In turn, lifting them up high on a pedestal which then, in turn, furthers customer loyalty and ultimately .... sales.
Though it can be argued both ways, my opinion is that this was fantastic. It's bold. From an aesthetic creative standpoint, the clean ad and compelling copy (text) would stop me in the streets, stop me from turning the page of a magazine & with an email subject line of "Don't Buy This Jacket," you better believe open click rates skyrocket. It makes people curious as to what the ad means and draws them in to find out their message.
They take a top-selling product, back-track it & present the real product to the consumer -- but though there are disappointing flaws from an environmental standpoint about the make-up of this one jacket, Patagonia PR kicks in and says, "Hey.... let's do something about it," by encouraging the Pledge & limited purchasing with higher recycling rates.
Well done, Patagonia.