pianoknight

The North Face hijacks Wikipedia, and people hate them for it

Recommended Posts

The North Face thought it would be really cool to hijack Wikipedia photos of famous landmarks.  They sent crew to famous locations and re-photographed them with people wearing The North Face gear, and then created Wikipedia accounts to swap out the photos for their own, product-placement ham-fisted photos.

 

Worse, they even brag about how they did this to skyrocket to the top of Google Image results since Wikipedia photos are generally the first thing that pops up.

 

Technically, this is more marketing than pure design, but it's still visually interesting enough I thought I'd share.

 

https://adage.com/creativity/work/north-face-top-imagens/2174261

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/business/north-face-wikipedia-leo-burnett.html

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/30/18646538/north-face-wikipedia-google-search-apology-free-advertising-policy-violation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess this a new take on the term, "Fake it to make it"? Other brands do this in TV commercials so I'm not too surprised that a marketing agency trying to link up with people who are more "tech-savvy" by sliding their gear in a search engine. I guess this is what happens when the Oasis starts to become more desired than the actual world. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Optimized search results in the short term are cool, I guess, but it kind of makes the company look trollish and a bit desperate, which I think will be the same takeaway from the very demographics they're targeting with this approach in the first place. 100% chance "innovator" behind this "thrust" wears Burkenstocks to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's a very "anti-establishment" move that basically uses the establishment of Google+Wiki to manipulate their brand into people's searches.  It's like the non-baller kid who always shows up to streetball games decked out in Jordan gear.  Doesn't pass the sniff test at all, and the actual yuppie-turned-hippie demographic of North Face patrons are likely to be cheesed off by this move and go buy a pair of Toms instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sure, you have to appreciate the idea; its a pretty ingenious marketing move. but at some point you have to weigh the boldness of the idea against some sort of morality, and in this case even legality. i could see someone saying “yea but even bad publicity is good piblicity so its a win win”. but its not. because no one outside the ad industry is praising the idea, people are just associating the NF as those asshats that hijacked wiki with product placement. poor form all around on NF and the agency

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, BrandMooreArt said:

sure, you have to appreciate the idea; its a pretty ingenious marketing move. but at some point you have to weigh the boldness of the idea against some sort of morality, and in this case even legality. i could see someone saying “yea but even bad publicity is good piblicity so its a win win”. but its not. because no one outside the ad industry is praising the idea, people are just associating the NF as those asshats that hijacked wiki with product placement. poor form all around on NF and the agency

 

Yup exactly.  Marketers might think the idea is ingenious, but those people are not necessarily the same demographic as North Face's customer base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, pianoknight said:

Marketers might think the idea is ingenious, but

That's always the thing. If it's your career? You run the risk of being unable to see this stuff as your average consumer would see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

That's always the thing. If it's your career? You run the risk of being unable to see this stuff as your average consumer would see it.

 

I mean, that logic applies to every NCAAF alternate uniform, really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2019 at 2:53 PM, Ice_Cap said:

That's always the thing. If it's your career? You run the risk of being unable to see this stuff as your average consumer would see it.

If marketing is a person's career, it is explicitly their job to see stuff as the average consumer would see it, and make it appeal to them. Really gives you perspective about how bad a lot marketing folk are at their job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, aild87 said:

If marketing is a person's career, it is explicitly their job to see stuff as the average consumer would see it, and make it appeal to them. Really gives you perspective about how bad a lot marketing folk are at their job.

The problem with that is that once you’re in that sphere? It can become easy to fall into the trap of marketing to other marketing people rather than your average consumer. 

 

No profession is free from having that “bubble,” really. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

North Face claimed they "partnered" with Wikipedia for this campaign, which seems especially gross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not every clever idea is a good idea. This was arguably clever, but inarguably a bad idea. I also think a smaller part of the issue some folks might be having with the campaign is the smarmy way in which the North Face talked about this idea in their recap video. It was so self-congratulatory. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DG_Now said:

North Face claimed they "partnered" with Wikipedia for this campaign, which seems especially gross.

 

Yeah, this has a very smarmy feel to it.

 

Then again, I don't own any North Face products and am very unlikely to purchase any. I think this makes it even less likely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2019 at 7:32 PM, DG_Now said:

North Face claimed they "partnered" with Wikipedia for this campaign, which seems especially gross.

 

On 6/3/2019 at 12:09 PM, sc49erfan15 said:

 

Yeah, this has a very smarmy feel to it.

 

Then again, I don't own any North Face products and am very unlikely to purchase any. I think this makes it even less likely.

 

Feels kind of like Apple selling a hunk of metal and plastic for a thousand bucks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, pianoknight said:

Feels kind of like Apple selling a hunk of metal and plastic for a thousand bucks.

 

I don't think it feels like that at all.

 

I also don't own any Apple products, but overcharging for a stand isn't at all close to hijacking a non-profit website to hawk your gear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2019 at 10:32 PM, DG_Now said:

North Face claimed they "partnered" with Wikipedia for this campaign, which seems especially gross.

Wikipedia has gone and said that North Face did not propose any sort of partnership at all. Reports are saying that North Face "went out of their way" to avoid Wikipedia mods for as long as they could.

 

As someone with a bit of interest in marketing, this isn't even a good move. It's a very small product placement that almost everyone wouldn't even notice, and it has drowned the company in bad PR once it was found.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, sc49erfan15 said:

 

I don't think it feels like that at all.

 

I also don't own any Apple products, but overcharging for a stand isn't at all close to hijacking a non-profit website to hawk your gear.

 

It's the same kind of arrogance. Different actions, but you don't pull those kind of stunts without thinking you're too cool for school. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.