“Don’t Buy Our Jacket”

By definition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Commercialization is “to use (something) as an opportunity to earn money”.  Other definitions state that commercialization is the process in which a new product is introduced into the market.  The launch of the product, the advertising, sales promotion, and any other marketing strategies are all a part of commercialization.  Commercialization is a standard business practice that is used in order to promote a companies products with the goal of maximizing products.  Consumption is defined as the “using up of a resource”.  The goal of commercialization is to convince potential buyers to consume the companies product. Consumption is often viewed as food being eaten, but in the sense of material goods, consumption as far as the company is concerned is based on sales.  As long as a company continues to sell their product, there are buyers “consuming” their product.  It is typical of companies to commercialize their products in a way that influences people to continuously consume their products, but Patagonia has taken a unique strategy of commercialization.  This campaign is known as their “Common Thread” campaign.

Marketing campaigns are not always focused on a single particular product.  Sometimes it the marketing campaigns are not even particularly focused on a particular line of products.  Often times, marketing campaigns are designed to promote the entirety of a particular company.  This is the type of campaign that Patagonia began in late 2013 with their “Common Thread” campaign.  The “Common Thread” campaign included ads in the New York Times with big black letters above their products saying “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET”, a short length video tracing the history of individual products and the stories that came with them, and promoting the: reduction of goods bought, the repair of “broken” gear already purchased, the reuse of unused gear, and the recycling of worn out gear to avoid additional growth to landfills.  When Patagonia launched this campaign on Black Friday, the opening day of the all important holiday shopping season, they were they only retailer who asked consumers to rethink what they bought, and to consider buying less.  As an environmentally aware company, Patagonia recognizes the footprint left behind by the production of every product (including their organic ones).  Instead of persuading their customers to purchase more of what they don’t need, they took a different stance in an attempt to take care of the environment but also to convince consumers that Patagonia products (while pricy) are superior to alternatives.  This campaign suggested that Patagonia produces products that are designed to “last and be useful”.  The company asks that their customers buy only what they need.  This stance in a consume happy society has earned Patagonia the loyalty and trust of it’s existing customers, and through this unique campaign also caught the attention of new customers.

Patagonia makes every effort as a company to make the process in which they create the product you’re about to purchase available for you to see.  On their website they have a feature called “The Footprint Chronicles” that allows consumers to view where each product comes from.  They even go into depth explaining why they encourage to “Don’t Buy This Jacket”.  This particular campaign was aimed at giving consumers confidence in the quality of their product which is typically more expensive than their competitors.  It is hard to measure the economic impact of this particular campaign, but it is safe to say that Patagonia gathered a lot of attention and respect as a result of their unique marketing strategy while maintaining their values of taking care of the environment.


-Taylor Langstaff


Sources: http://www.thecleanestline.com/2011/11/dont-buy-this-jacket-black-friday-and-the-new-york-times.html




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