The North Face: Go Wild


Entry Information

Country where program ran: China
Program start date: 03/15/12
Program end date: 05/31/12
Advertiser/Client Name: The North Face
Product/Service Description: Professional outdoor sports apparel and gear
Category: Consumer Products (CP)


Business problem


Around the world, The North Face is the leading brand of outdoor adventurism. It is widely accepted as the main pioneer of the outdoor category and it generally enjoys the number one position in every market it competes in. (Source: VF Asia) Except China. Unlike the USA where the brand enjoys a long history of pioneering since 1968, in China, The North Face began seriously pushing its brand as late as 2009. Consequently, the market was crowded with nearly 600 competitors and The North Face found itself in the unfamiliar position of the 'underdog'. The greatest competitor was market leader Columbia who had been building its business since 2004 and dominated The North Face in every aspect including:

  • A more expansive retail network (Columbia has 49 more stores on average from 2007 to 2011, source: The North Face China)
  • More than doubled media investment (Columbia 9.2 million USD vs. The North Face 4 million USD in 2011, source: Maxus)
  • Much higher brand awareness (Columbia 40 vs. The North Face 22 by Q1, 2012, source: Ipsos)