Outdoor apparel brand The North Face has been forced to apologise for a campaign in which it bragged about manipulating Wikipedia to gain free advertising.
Looking for some high-traffic, free advertising, The North Face and Leo Burnett Tailor Made devised a plan to remove existing images on popular Wikipedia pages and replace them with images that promoted its range of products.
In the video uploaded as part of the campaign, The North Face asks (via Google search), “How can a brand be the first on Google without paying anything for it?” before gloating about its success.
It claims the campaign helped it reach “the top of the world’s largest search engine, paying absolutely nothing”.
Sure enough, Wikipedia wasn’t happy with the stunt, sending out the following Tweet:
Yesterday, we were disappointed to learn that @thenorthface and @LeoBurnett unethically manipulated Wikipedia. They have risked your trust in our mission for a short-lived consumer stunt. 1/ https://t.co/aIl5XEkS3z
— Wikipedia (@Wikipedia) May 29, 2019
It also added: “When companies like The North Face take advantage of the trust you have in Wikipedia just to sell you clothes, you should be angry. Their actions have gone directly against the spirit, purpose, and policies of Wikipedia to provide neutral, fact-based knowledge to the world.”
After being called out, The North Face soon backed down, confirming the campaign had been ended:
We believe deeply in @Wikipedia’s mission and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles. Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on the site policies.
— The North Face (@thenorthface) May 30, 2019
Despite the goodwill on social media, The North Face Brazil CEO Fabricio Luzzi remained indignant, telling Ad Age any publicity is good publicity.
“Our mission is to expand our frontiers so that our consumers can overcome their limits,” he said in a statement.
“With the ‘Top of Images’ project, we achieved our positioning and placed our products in a fully contextualized manner as items that go hand in hand with these destinations.”
Hayley Fisher [pictured] is the AUNZ Country Manager at Adyen. In this op-ed, she discusses the upcoming holidays sales season and explains marketers can help drive sales. Over the 18-months the pace of ecommerce has accelerated to new heights. According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a record $44.2 billion was […]
TPG Telecom has announced it will hold a creative pitch to further develop the Vodafone brand here in Australia. Last year’s merger between Vodafone and TPG brought together a family of brands under the TPG Telecom group, with the creative shift to position Vodafone for the future. While Vodafone’s long-standing relationship with WPP will continue, […]
Following 18 months of intermittent lockdowns across Australia, shopping centre giant Westfield is launching a new service that will tap into the ecommerce boom. The new service, named Westfield Direct, will take on the likes of Australia Post by providing shipping directly to customers. Shoppers will also be able to select items from an online […]
SBS has been recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Most Innovative Companies, in the prestigious annual list published by the Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, from over 700 nominated organisations. Ranked third on the Media and Marketing list, SBS was the only media company to make the list, recognised for its growing and evolving multilingual digital services, exemplifying SBS’s innovative culture and strategy. SBS provides multiplatform services in more than […]
Twitter has confirmed it is experimenting with a new ad format which will see ads placed within conversation threads for the first time. The company’s Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falck made the announcement on Thursday. “Starting today, we’re trying something different and testing a new ad format in Tweet conversations,” he posted on Twitter. “If […]
In exciting news today, Mushroom Group is thrilled to announce much lauded Aussie music program The Sound will return to the ABC this November! Celebrating some of our best musical talents since its launch in 2020, The Sound Season 3 will debut on Sunday 7 November at 5.30pm (local time). Viewers can watch The Sound on ABC TV each Sunday afternoon or catch up with the latest episodes via ABC iview. Across Season […]
Strategic design and innovation company AKQA has received the top industry ranking in the 2021 AFR Boss Most Innovative Companies List. This is the third consecutive year the company has been acknowledged by the AFR for its commitment to innovation in the media and marketing category. The Most Innovative Companies Awards were presented via a […]
National news brand, The Australian, has launched a new podcast from Hedley Thomas, Shandee’s Story. Shandee’s Story is the culmination of six months’ work by Thomas, the award-winning investigative journalist behind The Teacher’s Pet and The Night Driver podcasts. The podcast investigates a harrowing cold case. Shandee Blackburn was left to die after a frenzied knife attack as she walked […]
Greater Bank has won a Silver Award at the 2021 Step Two Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards with its Intranet Built on the Elcom Digital Employee Experience Platform. The global awards recognise outstanding contributions to the fields of intranets and digital workplaces, honouring remarkable solutions that deliver business value to their organisations and then share […]
Two new research reports have revealed key drivers for ‘commerce content’ and the massive revenue opportunity it presents for digital publishers and brands. Published by independent media organisations, commerce content allows readers to understand the goods and services promoted by an editorial team. It’s now a major part of the partnership ecosystem, and a way […]