The North Face hid a pop-up activation on top of a mountain for its new “Pinnacle Archives” campaign. Accessible only on foot by those willing to hike for hours, the reward is being able to view, seek inspiration from and bid on gear worn by The North Face’s accomplished athlete partners.
The Pinnacle Project’s appeals to the outdoor gear brand’s core audience through inspiration, challenges and cause marketing.
A small red tent bearing The North Face logo was placed in Val San Nicolò in the Italian Alps last weekend—the first of many such marketing activations planned by the outdoor gear brand. The Pinnacle Project pop-up will remain for eight days on the mountain, where hikers can view collector’s items that once belonged to adventurers such as Alex Honnold, Conrad Anker, Simone Moro and Caroline Ciavaldine.
The items have been restored and labeled with an inspirational message from each athlete. Proceeds from the auction will go “back to the mountain,” The North Face says on its website.
Consumers are provided only with GPS coordinates and a countdown to the next event, which will occur in Berlin followed by Manchester this fall. The Pinnacle Project’s themes are in step with The North Face’s “Never Stop Exploring” slogan and appeals to its most motivated audience members with a fear of missing out (FOMO)—not to mention “travel bragging” photo opportunities for Instagram.
The North Face has embraced cause marketing as part of its overall brand message, launching its “Move Mountains” initiative in April. The initiative includes a series of videos that highlight females who are leading in their respective fields, female-focused catalogs, retail locations and partnerships with brands like The Girl Scouts of America and National Geographic.
Cause marketing is on the rise thanks to evolving consumer sentiment. An April study by Kantar Consulting found that businesses with a high sense of purpose have experienced a brand valuation increase of 175 percent over the past 12 years. A July study by Fuse found that 67 percent of teenagers were more likely to purchase from a company that supported a cause than one that doesn’t.
Naturally, outdoor brands are campaigning to protect the environment, promoting sustainability and conservation efforts. Pinnacle went so far as to sue the Trump Administration in defense of two Utah monuments.