The North Face: Finding True North

Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai


This is the story of a brand that, in the chaotic of booming China, lost its direction but then found it again by helping urban Chinese find theirs.

It's also a case of how in the immature Chinese advertising market, where media spending is often the primary weapon, cultural analysis was the secret to shaping a category-breaking solution that went beyond communications.

It is a story of how a small spark started a prairie fire.

Good business ?

In the past 10 years, the Chinese outdoor apparel market had rocketed to a 1 billion USD business. Riding on the wave, The North Face has also been enjoying solid sales growth year on year. While a booming category offered many reasons to be excited about the future, there were other things that gave rise to worries.