The North Face pledges equal representation for women in ads
- The North Face launched Move Mountains, an initiative celebrating female explorers that includes a multi-year outdoor adventure partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA, a news release announced. The outdoor brand also committed to equal representation of women in all of its advertising, social media and content.
- Move Mountains features a series of short films profiling women who are "pushing boundaries," including athletes sponsored by The North Face. The campaign stars alpinist Hilaree Nelson, climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes and ultra-runner and activist Fernanda Maciel. The brand is also featuring women who go beyond physical exploration, including women's empowerment advocate America Ferrera, NASA scientist Tierra Guinn Fletcher and musician and activist Madame Gandhi. Fans can follow the conversation with the hashtag #SheMovesMountains.
- The partnership with Girl Scouts will support the creation of 12 new outdoor adventure badges, with programming that includes mountaineering, climbing, backpacking, hiking and trail running. Ferrera, a Girl Scout alum, is partnering to heighten the visibility of role models for girls and to encourage them to explore.
Pushes for gender equality and women's empowerment have been steadily gaining momentum in the marketing industry, and especially over the past year in the wake of movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo. With Move Mountains, The North Face is committing to bringing gender parity to its advertising, which is typically focused on the outdoors and adventure — areas that are increasingly popular with women.
The pledge steps beyond the creative components of the campaign and the partnership with the Girl Scouts as well. The North Face said that it's increasing investment in women's product design, focusing on employee development and closing the gender pay gap for its athlete team. The brand is expanding its Explore Fund Grants program to include a new $250,000 grant to enable female exploration. It also plans to open two women-specific stores in 2018, in Edina, Minnesota, and San Francisco.
The North Face joins other major brands in launching such initiatives in recent months. Alcoholic beverage producer Diageo has a "Free the Bid" project that urges ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director in their creative bidding process. CPG giant Unilever has also stated it will put half of its startup bets toward women-led businesses by 2023.