Responses by Sid Lee
Background: For over 50 years, the North Face has pushed the boundaries of physical exploration, enabling people to further discover the world. The North Face also recognizes that exploration isn’t limited to the outdoors; there are many ways to explore, from mountaineering to music to art to science. What connects everyone as an explorer is a shared mindset of curiosity with a dose of courage to try something new.
Reasoning: Our goal was to show exploration as a mindset rather than a place or destination. Focusing on this simple truth let us tell inspirational and relatable stories that both stoked people’s curiosity and gave them the courage to get out and do something, whether it’s camping on the side of a snowy mountain or checking out a new music venue. We also wanted to feature some of the North Face’s iconic and well-loved pieces: the Nuptse jacket, yellow duffel bag and yellow tent.
Challenges: Finding a location with real snow on a mountain adjacent to a vibrant metropolitan area in the middle of summer. Fortunately, we were able to find the perfect location in Santiago, Chile, with an excellent local crew that was able to dig into the mountain one day and set up in a subway station the next day.
Favorite details: The simplicity and truth of the campaign. Storytelling in fifteen seconds is a tricky thing, but we had great clients who wanted to keep things pure. We are also proud that we were able to cast real people to give authenticity to the New Explorer. It was important that viewers could see themselves in the spots and take away that shared mindset.
Visual influences: Nature is always influential, but the addition of city exploration gave us a whole new background. We were drawn to cinematic films in natural light and authentic photography. One-take shots allowed the fifteen seconds to feel longer so that the moment of exploration could breathe and fuel the curiosity with us.
Specific demands: Creating an authentic brand story can be challenging, but our clients understood that it didn’t have to be if we kept things true and simple. The North Face has a legacy of its own, which gave us a lot to work with—brand love, proven products and great design.