The North Face

Still Going Strong.

In the mid-nineties, I helped a start-up advertising agency in San Francisco beat out a handful of established agencies to win The North Face business. At the time, The North Face was successfully positioned as a high-end company, renowned for its technical excellence, superior product, customer loyalty, commitment to quality, lifetime warranty and authentic expedition-proven heritage. With strong brand recognition and category dominance, they sought to move beyond technical gear into the broader apparel category. To do so, they needed to reinforce their leadership position in the marketplace, solidify the connection between the brand and its core audience of elite athletes, and provide a foundation to reach a new, broader audience less familiar with the brand. Management understood the need to transition from a product-driven company to a brand-driven company.

Our winning strategy and creative was based, not on functional benefits or technical expertise, but on the emotions shared by all athletes— from the elite to the casual, from those scaling Mt. Everest to those strolling up Nob Hill. I dubbed those emotions, "The 6 E’s of Alpine Experience:" Escape; Exertion; Exploration; Empowerment; Elation; and Everlasting Memories. Our "Never Stop Exploring" campaign capitalized on the glorious feelings that one experiences while wearing The North Face apparel. The campaign still resonates around the globe, 25 years strong.