The North Face's down jackets took over Shanghai Zhangyuan – a hip luxury retail complex renovated in the shikumen historical building style – over the past weekend. An inflatable colossal Himalayan explorer, donning a large The North Face coat, sat guard on the artificial-snow-covered street. The brand also set up a gigantic ski slope ahead of the installation.
Outside of The North Face’s experiential space, named Summit Club House, the outdoor wear manufacturer hosted a pop-up street skateboarding challenge, dubbed Urban Ride, which brought professional street skaters from across the country together. The initiative combined snowy mountains with the bustling city, combining ice and snow tracks with Shanghai's local alley culture.
The giant pop-up installation has gone viral on social media, attracting netizens to visit it physically and post their snapshots. The North Face brand hashtag has accumulated over 51 million views on Xiaohongshu. This is not the first time that the brand has brought skateboarding slopes and artificial snow to shopping destinations. Since 2021, it has launched similar initiatives in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Shenyang, which boosted offline and online traffic significantly.
Leveraging gigantic installations to grab the public’s attention is a common viral marketing tactic. In September this year, The North Face's first Summit Club House opened in Shanghai Zhangyuan, for which the brand mounted two large explorers wearing the brand's iconic product, one sitting atop the Summit Club House building and the other one lying streetside on Maoming North Road in Zhangyuan. The installations generated considerable attention.
Following the debut of the massive explorer, The North Face kicked off a touring campaign to take the installation to Xiamen and Shenzhen, which served as a warm-up marketing campaign for the winter sales season.
A dominant force in the sportswear industry, The North Face established its brand prominence by delivering top-notch activewear and outdoor sports equipment. Going beyond its core identity, this heritage performance-wear brand has adeptly stayed in tune with the preferences of today's younger generations.
It achieves this by engaging in dynamic collaborations with prestigious names like Gucci, MM6 Maison Margiela, CDG, Supreme, and Kaws. Through these partnerships, The North Face consistently infuses artistic and playful elements into a diverse range of classic items. The brand is strategically riding on the burgeoning winter sports trend in China, which will further enhance its cultural resonance and market presence.