How can you embrace your fear and feel free? When will obsession turn into devotion? Does something that seems mental, become calculated? Will the pain suffered overweight or can you gain a perspective?


The North Face helps freaks become pioneers and adventure into the unknown. It’s the philosophy of doing things you shouldn’t to achieve something no one thought would be possible. The brand is focused on bringing people into the outdoors, out of their comfort zone and into the nature.

Have you ever encountered that a product motivates you to do these exact things – to go outdoors and DO something? Even though The North Face’ products are designed for extreme outdoors, athletes and situations, you will find that the average weekend-adventurer – their main consumers – also desires these high-quality gears. It makes the ordinary consumer more comfortable and confident in the outdoors, helping one to overcome fear and turn it into freedom.


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The Brand

The North-Face is an US-American brand for outdoor equipment, sports- and high-performance gear. San Francisco 1966, Douglas Tompkins and his wife Susie Tompkins founded the brand as an equipment store for hikers and backpackers. Only a few years later, after the acquisition by ‘Hap’ Klopp TNF shifted its focus from retail to the production of outerwear and outdoor products. Over the years several product lines such as extreme skiing material as well as sportswear and camping equipment were developed and added to the brands portfolio and it expanded worldwide. After serious financial struggles in the early 2000’s, TNF was taken over by the global clothing concern VF Corporation in 2000. Today, 50 years after its foundation the brand generates more than $2 billion turnover (2016) in more than 30 countries around the globe. Leading the market for outdoor equipment.

Marketing Approach

The North Face’ efforts towards marketing their product is quite unusual, as the extreme is featured in every ad as well as in all of their campaigns. This message of adventurism and motivating people to go outdoors cannot only be seen in their ads on TV, billboards, newspaper and magazines but also in all their additional promotional efforts. These are for instance free outdoor sports classes, which where offered all over the US, sponsored events such as running races or movie nights. Another promotional tool is implied through the cooperation with Spotify and Xbox. They also established a good relationship with their consumers through the loyalty program VIPeak, which enables customers to stay up-to-date, participate in events such as great mountain climbs and be rewarded for interacting with and purchasing the brand. Moreover, they have an athlete team featuring not only the most famous, but the most extreme expeditioners and athletes in the outdoor world. The team captain Conrad Anker, a legendary mountaineer, embraces all values The North Face represents.



Question Madness

This leads to their most recent marketing effort for the 50th anniversary. In their campaign, QUESTION MADNESS, their extreme athlete team enthusiasts demonstrate the difference often faced in extreme sports. Is doing extreme sports madness, is it reckless to risk your own life and to hurt yourself? Or is it something reasonable, that people endeavor the unimaginable… to feel free, have a new perspective and progress. Two words resembled the opposing opinions, leaving an impressive impact on the customer. Thereby, the weekend-adventurer feels engaged to question their previous opinion on extreme sports.


Only one month after the launch, the two Minute YouTube Clip reached more than 7 million people and was shared more than 13,000 times. It makes Question Madness the most viral campaign ever launched by The North Face or any other competitor in the outdoor market.

“We hope to inspire people to question inherited wisdom and go beyond limits in their own lives”

Nicolas Van Erum

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