Patagonia: Selling the Adventure

The outdoor gear company, Patagonia, does an incredible job of selling an idea as well as their durable, environmentally safe products. This company aims to sell outdoor clothing and equipment to environmentally conscious, outdoors loving customers, while promoting social causes such as sustainability.  Over the years, Patagonia’s strategy has varied, and been different than many other retail brands. Instead of emphasizing the products themselves, Patagonia markets what such products are capable of, and what types of activity these products hold up in. By seeing a glossy photo of a tenacious mountain biker, someone summiting a mountain at sunrise, or any adventurous photo promotes a sense of longing within the customer. Many, wish they could escape their daily life and hike, climb, and adventure. However, excuses often get in the way of such activity. Patagonia inspires these feelings with scenic, beautiful pictures that imply owning a Patagonia product will enable an individual to live a more adventurous life, or at least take a step in that direction.

Figure 1. An advertisement for Patagonia camping equipment and outdoor gear able to support the consumer on the side of a mountain.

Figure 1. An advertisement for Patagonia camping equipment and outdoor gear able to support the consumer on the side of a mountain.

Furthermore, with this first advertisement Patagonia sells experiences as well as their top quality gear. The picture of two people sleeping on the side of a cliff sells adventure and thrill of what Patagonia products enable its customers to do. The image is breathtaking. The view of what these two people experience is something some people only dream of. There is a lot of white space created which makes room for the text”somewhere, someone is Googling this.” The text appears to be sans-serif. This phrase implies that those who use Patagonia products, or buy into the Patagonia mindset, are doers. They are the ones that others look up on Google and strive to become. By seeing this ad, one may be inspired to climb a mountain, sleep on the side of it, or at very minimum buy a Patagonia hiking boot just in case he or she may take that leap and do something spontaneous. Nonetheless, an individual who may want to know specifics about a Patagonia item may not excited by this advertisement, but annoyed that there isn’t a lot of information about the tents or cables. This brand wants to empower people to go live adventure correctly, with the right environmentally conscious equipment.

On the other hand, Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign was a brilliant way to reach out to its target market, but in a very non traditional manner.


Figure 2. Patagonia’s “Dont Buy This Jacket” campaign in 2012.

This campaign emphasizes how much material it takes to make one of Patagonia’s jackets. The company explains how their carbon footprint was much higher than necessary, and they describe how many resources are required to make quality products. Therefore, the campaign invites the environmentally conscious individuals willing to pay top dollar for their outdoor gear, to really consider if their purchase is necessary. The text on the right details how to prolong the life of the product, and essentially to do one’s part in the minimization of their carbon footprint. The white space surrounding the jacket as well as the large, capital text draws attention to the center of advertisement. This resonated with the target market in a huge way, and Patagonia improved their sales by telling people to not buy their product.


The third image is from a different ad campaign that focuses  more on the product than the other advertisements. It is clear from this picture that it is enjoyable to sleep in a Patagonia sleeping bag outside, in the middle of nowhere. There is not very much white space, but the message is a little bit different than the first advertisement’s adventure campaign. The large, centered text saying “Priorities” and the smaller “fly fishing gear to match your passion” have several underlying meanings. The man is sleeping outside by choice, but seems to be very comfortable in his Patagonia sleeping bag. He is not in a miraculous landscape, but he is doing what he loves which we presume is fly fishing. The product is being promoted, but more important is the experience that the product can provide. Patagonia continually states that their products enable the customer to do what they love.

Figure 3. This advertises Patagonia fly fishing equipment.

Figure 3. This advertises Patagonia fly fishing equipment and prioritizing enjoyment of life.


This entry was posted in Blog #2. Researching Print Advertisements. Bookmark the permalink.

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