By: Alyssa Fix

Long over are the days when audiences would pay attention to advertisements.  Instead, more than ever, people are trying to avoid advertisements as much as they can.  In a world where we’re bombarded by about 3,000 advertisements every day, there’s nothing a viewer despises more than when their favorite television program is interrupted by sponsors.  In an age where ads line the sides of Facebook, clutter the timeline of Twitter, and precede YouTube videos, consumers are ignoring advertisements more than ever.

How are brands and companies attracting customers?  Brands are starting a conversation with their audience, contrary from the traditional method of talking at them. Brands have started selling themselves as a lifestyle through their storytelling.  They’re gaining an impressive amount of attention for it.  Whether it’s the popularity of the prank campaign going viral or Felix Baumgartner descending 24 miles from space to the earth while sponsoring Red Bull with millions watching, these brands are creating buzz.  They’re telling a story.  They’re selling a lifestyle.

The latest brand to take on this technique is The North Face.  The North Face sells climbing gear, ski coats, and products that insist the company serve an active and adventurous audience.  What better way to attract attention than to sponsor famous climber Alex Honnold, who specializes in free-solo climbs.

Cedar Wright videotaped Honnold successfully climbing the 2,500-foot wall known as El Sendero Luminoso without a rope to catch him if he fell.  Honnold embodies what The North Face stands for – a daredevil explorer.  The North Face wasn’t selling a product, and they didn’t even show their brand name until the end of the video.  Although not all brands can adapt to this technique, this type of lifestyle advertising is setting the trend of what audiences will expect from their favorite brands in the future.

It remains to be seen if brands like Red Bull and The North Face are taking risks by sponsoring daredevils who break records.  What would happen if he had possibly fallen?  As a sponsor, would The North Face receive bad press that would potentially ruin their reputation?  Though Honnold seems to be the only one risking his life, it remains to be seen what The North Face is risking as a brand to create a conversation.

Sources:

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-dont-watch-north-face-video-if-youre-even-mildly-afraid-heights-155732

http://threesixfive.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/The-North-Face-Alex-Honnold-El-Sendero-Luminoso.jpg

http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/10/18/free-fall-helps-red-bull-market-the-lifestyle/

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Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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