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The North Face pledges to show more women in ads

By Published on .

Look for more female representation in future marketing from the North Face. The outdoors brand is committing to having an equal number of men and women in all its advertising moving forward, the VF Corp.-owned brand says. It's starting with "Move Mountains," a global campaign sharing the stories of female athletes, that debuts on Tuesday.

"This campaign is about acting in a way that we want the world to be," says Tom Herbst, VP of global marketing at The North Face. "We feel like we have a responsibility and an opportunity to help this new generation see more role models."

The push will include print and out-of-home advertising, as well as several digital videos airing on social channels. The spots will include alpinist Hilaree Nelson, climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes, and runner Fernanda Maciel, as well as actress America Ferrera and NASA scientist Tiera Guinn Fletcher. While Herbst declined to say how much the brand is spending on the push, he noted that this will be the 52-year-old brand's largest monetary and media investment in a spring campaign to date. The North Face spent $10.4 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media.

"We are sometimes seen largely as a cold weather brand," says Herbst, noting that the brand is trying to push more summer products as well. The North Face is expanding its women's collection with new tights and bras later this month.

The brand, which worked with Sid Lee on the new campaign, has been testing gender parity in social media marketing for the last year before making a formal pledge. The North Face's number of Instagram followers increased by 37 percent in 2017 over 2016, a spokeswoman says.

In addition, The North Face is opening two women-focused stores later this year, collaborating with the Girl Scouts of the USA on 12 new outdoor adventure badges, and expanding its female exploration grants program.

Last year, the brand saw global revenue grow 4 percent, including 8 percent in the fourth quarter. It is one of VF's top-performing labels.

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