Carpe Vinum

Drinking and Thinking

The North Face (and Camp 4 Collective) have produced a brand anthem that takes a powerful approach to telling a brand story: tethering and elevating the brand story to a larger human story.

The result is an inspirational story that resonates more powerfully to more people. The astronaut Buzz Aldrin personifies this base human aspiration writ large.

World-saving, paradigm-changing initiatives require more than a press release

Yesterday, Patagonia announced a new environmental initiative, called "The Responsible Economy" to “…promote the concept that everyone must learn to consume less and use resources far more productively – as well as innovate as quickly and ingeniously as possible to reduce adverse human impact on the natural systems that support all life.” 

They’re asking business to spend more on manufacturing and R&D while earning less, and asking consumers to spend more on durable goods and less frequently. These shifts are critical in order to reverse the “growth-based capitalism” paradigm, “…the assumption that a growth economy equals prosperity and a healthy society.”


It is an awesome initiative tackling a huge issue. Can you have both a healthy business and economy, and, a healthy, sustainable planet. Patagonia’s business model and success prove you can. The last sales numbers I heard pegged the company at about $700mm/annually, despite the company’s plea to it’s customers to buy less stuff.

Now Patagonia is recruiting other companies in an attempt to scale that success on both ends of the equation. 

So how do you introduce and promote the cause?

The Responsible Economy doesn’t seem to be a consumer marketing campaign, yet. It’s an ‘initiative’ (and a book) designed to raise the issue, start a conversation, and promote the concept, according to the press release and a couple of essays on the Patagonia site

Patagonia themselves says that time is running out, yet they don’t seem to be in a hurry to affect change. The initiative is missing the back end, the call to action, the way to participate. It appears that they are trying to work the inside game with discussions among sympathetic business leaders and customers through catalog copy and some web presence. 

That’s hardly enough. As Bill Clinton says, "It’s not enough to talk about saving the world." Patagonia needs to stoke this fire from the outside in/bottom up. It’s a cause, a call to action, a movement…you don’t disrupt paradigms with press releases, business conferences, and catalog copy. You need to educate, encourage, and empower the community, (and I don’t mean the brand community, I mean the community-at-large community). Address the issue from their perspective. 

Patagonia already knows how to do this. Their "Don’t buy our coat" ad in the NYTimes in 2011 had community community people talking. More along these lines, please. It needs big, ballsy ideas that challenge society’s norms, makes people uncomfortable, and causes tension. 

If this was designed to be a launch of a huge initiative, it was more of a whisper than a grand opening. 

Also, PRWeb. Really?

Patagonia launches retro-inspired 40th Anniversary Legacy Collection, featuring contemporary takes on iconic pieces. Rolls out to streetwear fashion media. 

BlueSign could take some brand marketing lessons from the Rainforest Alliance #OIBiz

Is your focus on the core customer holding back your brand?

For anyone at Outdoor Retailer trade show, MercuryCSC Jeff Welch is leading a seminar on the risks associated with (mis)aligning your brand with the core customer. Friday, Noon, at the Marriott. 

For those not attending, we’ll be live-streaming the event here and on Mercury’s Facebook page.

Joining Jeff will be Orvis Product Development Specialist Steve Hemkens, ExOfficio General Manager Steve Bendzak, and NOLS Director of Admissions and Marketing Bruce Palmer.

They will discuss their brands’ struggles and successes balancing very enthusiastic core audiences and efforts to expand into other markets.

Also, former Patagonia and Prana executive Rich Hill will resurface to discuss his new venture, Ticla, and how he is taking advantage of a clean slate to position the brand to the most broad audience possible.

See you there.

(Source: )

"To be fair, Whitefish is truly lovely this time of year."

Reflections on a case study example of a social media crisis and the implosion of controlled marketing messages, by MercuryCSC CEO Jeff Welch.

We must shift our approach towards transparency and an acceptance of imperfection. Coming from a legacy in which we still frame our perfectly crafted messages as art and bronze them in award shows, that’s not going to be easy.

Very cool customer-sourced social content campaign by REI. 1440 Project seeks to ‘celebrate every minute spent outside’ with customers’ photographs of the outdoors.

L2′s inaugural Digital IQ Index®: Sportswear report benchmarks the digital competence of 42 global sportswear brands, looking at over 675 data points across four dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile.

Final brand rankings were broken out into five categories: Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged, and Feeble. Some marketing egos will be bruised as Teva and Patagonia only earn Average rank, and Arc’Teryx and Marmot are Feeble.

Here’s how the rankings break out:


1. Nike
2. adidas


3. The North Face
4. Puma
5. L.L. Bean
6. Under Armor
7. New Balance
8. Quicksilver
9. Reebok
10. Lacoste 
11. Burton
11. Converse
11. Vans


14. Teva
15. Timberland
17. Columbia
20. Merrell
22. Patagonia


30. Mountain Hardwear
31. Keen


37. Arc’Terxy
38. Marmot
38. Vibram
40. Fila

You can download the report excerpt here.

Fun work by TDA Ad & Design in Boulder for One Percent for the Planet’s new music initiative.

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy