The North Face Goes Viral After Faulty Jacket Incident

Discover how North Face turned a viral complaint into a branding triumph with creativity.

The Moast Team

December 5, 2023

This is a wild story about how The North Face put on an epic masterclass in social media branding.

So, here's how it went down: Jenn Jensen, an avid hiker, is out braving the elements in New Zealand's stunning Hooker Valley. She's geared up in a North Face jacket, trusting it to keep her dry.

But the jacket doesn't live up to its waterproof claims, and Jenn ends up completely soaked. Bummer, right?

Jenn, undeterred, does what any of us would do in the age of social media – she takes to TikTok. She posts a video, rain and all, humorously challenging The North Face to deliver a new jacket right to her in the mountains.

She recorded the video below with a few requests:

  1. re-design the rain jacket
  2. make it water proof
  3. deliver it to her on the mountain

And it racked up ~11M views.

A screen shot of a Tiktok video of the North Face viral incident

Now, here's where it gets really interesting...

The North Face, catching wind of Jenn's viral plea, decides to take customer service to, quite literally, new heights.

They don't just send her a new jacket – they decide to hand deliver it.

Picture this: a helicopter, swooping through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand, lands near Jenn.

And voila, out comes a brand new North Face jacket, delivered straight to her on a mountaintop.

This isn't just a regular product replacement – it's a statement. The North Face didn't just listen; they responded with a grand gesture that was as unexpected as it was impressive.

The cool part? They capture this epic delivery moment and share it back on social media. Talk about understanding the power of a good story!

A screenshot of the North Face's TikTok response video

And yes, of course the meetup was staged and in the end they’re still giving her the same jacket.

But they’re still sending a message to their customers: "we’re listening, we've got your back, come rain or high mountains."

Brands, here’s the takeaway:

The North Face's response to Jenn Jensen's viral complaint is a prime example of a strategic marketing approach that leverages several key principles, offering valuable lessons for other direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. Here's a detailed breakdown of their strategy and the takeaways for other brands:

1. Responsive and Agile Marketing: North Face's quick response to the viral video highlights the importance of agility in today's fast-paced digital landscape. They didn't just address the complaint; they turned it into an opportunity, demonstrating that timely, creative responses can significantly boost a brand's image.

2. Storytelling and Emotional Engagement: By transforming a customer complaint into a dramatic story of a helicopter delivery in a scenic location, North Face created a compelling narrative. This approach not only resolved the issue but also engaged customers on an emotional level, enhancing brand loyalty and appeal.

3. Leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC): The company capitalized on user-generated content (UGC), a powerful tool in modern marketing. By embracing and amplifying a customer's story, they not only showed attentiveness but also encouraged other customers to share their experiences, fostering a community feeling.

4. Experiential Marketing: North Face elevated a standard customer service exchange into an unforgettable experience. This strategy goes beyond traditional advertising by creating memorable experiences that resonate with customers, thereby fostering a deeper connection with the brand.

5. Positive Public Relations: This event was a PR win for North Face, showcasing their commitment to customer satisfaction and willingness to engage in unique ways. It serves as a reminder that innovative PR strategies can greatly enhance a brand's reputation.

6. Creating Shareable Moments: The helicopter delivery was not only a solution to a problem but also a visually impactful, shareable moment. DTC brands should aim to create such moments that encourage sharing and discussions online, increasing brand visibility.

In summary, DTC brands can learn from North Face's example the importance of being responsive, engaging in storytelling, leveraging UGC, creating experiential marketing opportunities, utilizing social media effectively, staying true to brand values, focusing on positive PR, and creating shareable moments. These strategies collectively can transform potential negatives into powerful positives, driving brand growth and customer loyalty.

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