Case study: Patagonia’s ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ campaign

Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia was founded by climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard in 1973 and is using a marketing strategy which could be thought of as being part nudge, part shock tactics. The company initially made climbing equipment but changed its philosophy to focus on environmentally-sound products after Chouinard realised his climbing tools were causing damage to rocky cliff faces.

patagonia

Patagonia has since grown into a $600m company with more than 50 stores worldwide, including six in Europe. But it has strived to remain true to its eco-friendly ethos by using organic cotton and recycled polyester in its products and by urging consumers to consider the environmental effect of their purchases.

In the run-up to Christmas, the brand ran a poster and PR campaign that told customers ‘Don’t buy this jacket’. The message was intended to encourage people to consider the effect of consumerism on the environment and purchase only what they need.

Although this approach might seem risky, European marketing director Jonathan Petty says it has helped to establish a strong community of people who appreciate the brand’s values and its products. “Our customers expect very high quality and that’s why they always come back to us,” he says.

“At the same time we help consumers change their behaviour for the better by encouraging them to make more considered purchases.”

The brand encourages people to support its environmental efforts by signing up to ‘The Common Threads Initiative’, a scheme set up by Patagonia that asks people to buy only what they need, repair what breaks, and re-use or recycle everything else.

“We’re at the opposite spectrum of big brand disposable fashion,” explains Petty. “We’re about making great quality products that are designed to last, so we have a lifetime warranty on our products.”

Recommended

Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. […] once took out an ad encouraging people not to buy a jacket, since it would cause damage to the environment to make it. […]

  2. […] repair, reuse, and recycle their clothing and equipment rather than buy new items. For example, the “Don’t Buy this Jacket” marketing campaign, seen below, garnered a lot of attention for the […]

  3. […] buy this jacket’ campaign – Marketing Week. [online] Marketing Week. Available at: https://www.marketingweek.com/2013/01/23/case-study-patagonias-dont-buy-this-jacket-campaign/ [Accessed 3 May […]

  4. […] This is a hard one because I have a belief that “products” as such are not an answer, but helping people realize they could probably consume a LOT LESS than they do is.  So, I’m a fan of Patagonia – because they were first to emphasize buying fewer items, but higher quality – and are known for a campaign they started called “Don’t buy this jacket”. […]

  5. […] once took out an ad encouraging people not to buy a jacket, since it would cause damage to the environment to make it. […]

  6. […] intentions, however where much more transparent. The idea for Patagonia came from the owner’s morals of not impairing the environment as a keen […]

  7. […] buying fewer items, but higher quality – and are known for a campaign they started called “Don’t buy this jacket”. On that note, I appreciate that Subaru emphasizes love of their product (and so, loyalty even in […]

  8. […] to do it more. In the long run, the campaign ended up strengthening the community of customers who support the brand’s values and even increased […]

Leave a comment

Close

Discover even more as a subscriber

This article is available for subscribers only.

Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

> World-renowned columnists

> Analysis & case studies

> Exclusive leading-edge insight

> Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

> Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

Subscribe now

Got a question?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

> World-renowned columnists

> Analysis & case studies

> Exclusive leading-edge insight

> Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

> Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

Subscribe now