Outdoors brand Fjallraven boosts spending amid parka battle

The Swedish brand wants to make name for itself

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For three winters in a row, parka-marketer Fjallraven has pushed its product with a Times Square billboard and other out-of-home and print ads. But amid rising competition, including from better-known names like Canada Goose and North Face, the Sweden-based, hard-to-pronounce brand is trying to make a bigger name for itself with its largest-ever U.S. marketing push.

The brand, pronounced fee-yall-raven, is boosting its marketing mix with a digital content series featuring outdoor enthusiasts and influencers. The effort, called "Nature is Waiting for You" debuts this month and includes videos like like one (above) showing an urban-dwelling mom introducing her toddler to nature.

"We haven't done a great job of developing our own content in-house and being able to connect emotionally with consumers," says Nancy Blanchard, director of marketing at Fjallraven, noting the brand wants to have "more storytelling that's a little more engaging than just a giant billboard in Times Square."

She says Fjallraven is spending about 20 percent of its overall marketing budget on the new digital content; she also notes that the brand's spend is up year-over-year, although she did not say by how much. In 2017, Fjallraven spent $268,000 on measured media, according to Kantar Media. The brand was founded in 1960 but only entered the U.S. market six years ago.

The new campaign comes from Inkwell, a content creation company that won the account roughly four months ago. It includes long-form video and shorter clips centered around adventurers from Toronto, Denver, Boston, Vancouver and New York. The videos, backed with paid support on Instagram and Facebook, use the theme of escaping the urban hustle to experience nature. The campaign includes more than 40 posts, according to Patrick Crawford, a partner at Inkwell.

Fjallraven will "get the story out there and have distribution for this content, but they will also end up with a nice repository of content—a variety of cut-downs that can fuel their advertising efforts for a long time," says Crawford.

The parka season got off to an early start on the East Coast and Midwest, where the thermometer has hovered near freezing for weeks. New York City experienced one of its coldest Thanksgivings on record, according to weather analytics firm Planalytics. But Fjallraven must fight for attention with other brands using similar nature themes. LL Bean has been encouraging customers to "Be an Outsider," for instance. One exception is Canada Goose, a chief parka rival to Fjallraven, which recently released its relationship-focused "Generations of Warmth" holiday campaign that showcases families.

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