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North face wants to celebrate pride by letting everyone know they should go outside. And they chose Drag Queen Pattie Gonia (who uses the pronouns she and they, fyi) to represent in this advert. I can't be the only one thinking that they chose Pattie for the name specifically. Hello, Patagonia, North Face are sending shade. Anyway, Pattie is out and about in nature, wearing what looks like to be an ensemble created by stitching a north face puffy jacket together with a tent, how creative, and this is crowned off with a wig weighing a hundred-odd pounds. This prancing about in a park is to announce the north face events, which are pride-themed hiking tours encouraging LGBTQ+ people to get out in nature by joining group tours. They have also issued a limited edition puffer jacket, with a rainbow in the logo and the inner lining.
All in all, it's bog-standard to expand the market and grab some pink dollar - except for the fact that North Face seems to have forgotten to take their current market into account. And that includes those famous granola-eating weekend hiking lesbian stereotypes. And speaking of this highly pragmatic and loyal consumer, guess who doesn't like drag queens?
So, reactions on Twitter, vary. "Having a man show what I might look like in your merch is a miss" "Flogging outdoor kit with tired sexism and gay stereotypes?" "Everything about this is false and fake, the opposite of nature and 'being who you are'" - etc and so on. Gee, all I was going to say was that this looks shoddily produced as if it had no budget and was an afterthought hastily put together as we're coming up on June, but the complainers have a point. It's a serious mismatch in the spokesperson for the message. Even if all the Drag Queens of the world loved hiking, they'll not be in drag when doing it. This isn't the only North Face strategy that seems to target fashionistas rather than actual nature lovers, are North Face abandoning their core market in order to be more fashionable? I thought fashionistas wouldn't be caught dead in puffer jackets.
Client: North Face