Following in the wake of the monster ad campaigns launched by Bud Light (Bud Light’s Efforts to Buy Back Their Own Supply Show Just How Badly They’re Tanking) and Target (Target Removes Satanic-Linked LGBT Merchandise, Citing ‘Volatile Circumstances’), outdoor brand The North Face has put its summer marketing into overdrive with the Summer of Pride campaign. The campaign stars Wyn Wylie, who goes by the “stage name” of Pattie Gonia — Patagonia, get it? Wylie’s business focus is on environmental issues.
As part of the Summer of Pride campaign, The North Face has rolled out a line of children’s clothing guaranteed to warm the heart of any groomer or progressive parent about to send their kid off for “gender reassignment surgery.”
Aesthetically, I don’t find Wylie quite as grotesque as “Dylan Mulvaney.” This guy doesn’t imagine himself to be a woman and doesn’t demand that you believe he is. His over-the-top, self-parodying style is much more in line with classical drag acts. He’s definitely not in the same class as Target, which is not only pushing sexual depravity but also promoting Satanism.
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In a way, I suppose we owe the now-on-involuntary-leave geniuses at Bud Light a debt of gratitude. It was only by moving the alphabet people trash into a brand heavily associated with normal activities, like NASCAR and football, that we were sensitized to what was happening inside brands. For example, while working on this post, I discovered Wylie was also the celebrity (?) spokesman for The North Face’s “Summer of Pride” campaign last year.
He has also been the subject of a YouTube documentary for REI.
Those flew under the radar because The North Face is a niche brand that markets heavily to “urban explorers.” Also, while last year’s campaign featured a drag queen, this year’s campaign took on a much more sexual tone. All in all, it reeks of “look at me” desperation. Of course, that may be due to the price of its parent company’s stock cratering.
While no one will care all that much about overpriced outdoor gear, my colleague Brandon Morse has a point. In Target’s Backlash Is a Sign Corporations Should Start Weeding the Woke Out of Their Marketing Departments says:
If you’re a CEO, a board, or just a high-level executive with two brain cells to rub together, the wise thing to do would be to wade into the mire of the marketing department and do one of two things.
Either you make it very clear that the Pride month advocacy can only hit a certain line that can’t be crossed or you do the smarter thing and begin weeding out the activists that managed to land themselves jobs within the company. Trust me, they won’t be hard to spot. In fact, they’ll make themselves known the moment you give them a line they can’t cross. They won’t be able to help it.
It would be a short-term headache that may save your company millions of dollars.
Failing to do this may very well end up with your company saying something that wasn’t fully approved by brass thanks to rogue marketing departments and the activists that run them believing that it’s both their perogative and their duty to make your company a warrior for “inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance.”
In other words, they’ll think it’s their company, not yours, and if you do nothing about it…then they’re right. Then you’ll watch as their company begins to sink into the mire.
It’s only by financial pain that we can impress upon company CEOs that pushing sexual dysfunction with harmful physical and psychological side effects should not be a centerpiece of their marketing strategy.
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