Patagonia’s newest ad campaign known as the Common Threads Initiative calls for a new partnership between the company and its customers. In this partnership Patagonia invites both parties to work together to reduce consumption and give our planet’s dwindling resources a rest. If it sounds to you like Patagonia is telling their customers to buy less, you’re not mistaken. With this campaign Patagonia is reinvigorating the “R’s” of environmentalism, marketing to customers the benefits of – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reimagine when it comes to their products. The outdoor gear and clothing brand, which prides itself on environmental stewardship, is confident that this new economic model will benefit the planet as well as their profits.
A video ad on the company’s website proclaims, “Our way of doing business has outgrown our planet, and now it merely runs on reserves. A new economy must thrive in its place, that better meets our fundamental purpose, provides balance and gives nature a chance to rest…” The ad concludes with a clear manifesto: “Reduce what you buy, Repair what you can, Reuse what you no longer need, Recycle what’s worn out, Reimagine a sustainable world…” The website further engages customers to pledge their commitment to this call to action.
Common Threads offers repairs on Patagonia products as well as assistance selling them through the brand’s website or eBay when the owner is no longer in need of the items. For some of you cynics out there this may appear as merely a clever marketing mix. Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s Environmental VP reaffirms their intentions in a recent interview with FastCompany, “the project is less about improving sales and customer retention, than a sincere response to the planetary crisis.” He is referring to an analysis showing that humanity currently uses natural resources 1.4 times the rate at which the earth can restore them.
Patagonia acknowledges their new model is not for every clothing company, nor a criticism to “fast fashion” companies that sell large volumes at cheap prices. In contrast, their business at Patagonia is driven by a smaller group of conscious and loyal customers, who are willing to pay more for quality. This is why Patagonia believes that a partnership, like the Common Threads Initiative, makes sense, but as Ridgeway expresses, “we want to challenge other businesses too. The fundamental assumption that we can continue on a growth economy is flawed in the long term. We need to start talking about what we are going to do about it.” Ultimately, we hope this campaign initiates a dialogue in which all apparel companies will see the value in reexamining their own business practices to find strategies that will improve their triple bottom line.
Via Fast Company