'Don't Buy This Jacket!' Claim Turns Into Business and Climate Successful Campaign | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation

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'Don't Buy This Jacket!' Claim Turns Into Business and Climate Successful Campaign

Patagonia, an outdoor clothing brand, ran a campaign on Black Friday in 2011 urging consumers not to buy their jacket.

With this ad, the company aspired to raise consumer awareness regarding the consequences of over-consumption, especially in the textile industry.

The ad highlights how each piece of Patagonia clothing—despite being made from recycled materials—emits far more greenhouse gas (GHG) than it weighs, in addition to increased use of freshwater for production purposes.

The results of the campaign were estimated as 'successful' by the company. Even though the advertisement had an element of a reverse psychology, making customers buy more of Patagonia's clothing, the net effect was positive.


Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams.

Moreover, 85% of all textiles go to the landfills each year (UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes results in significant amounts of microplastics.

Raising social awareness regarding the impacts of textile, in particular clothing industry, upon the environment was the main goal of Patagonia's Black Friday campaign in 2011.


Big advertisement campaign was the found solution. First, Patagonia partnered with eBay. Together, they decided on publishing a full-page ad in the New York Times newspaper, showing Patagonia's best-selling jacket with a banner that read: Don’t Buy This Jacket.

Besides the add in New York Times, the company sent an email to subscribers describing the environmental impact of producing its best-selling jacket. In doing so, Patagonia hoped to encourage consumers to ‘think before they buy’, and ultimately buy far less but better quality.

The campaign was part of Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative and Worn Wear programme for used clothing. 

The final piece of this puzzle: the company understood its capabilities and resource availability and knew what it could and could not do. Patagonia knew it had the audience and strategy, but it needed eBay to realise the campaign to the full extent.


Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign is one of the best examples to be found on deepening one’s Systemic Authenticity, and its resulting success in the marketplace made it a true innovation.

This, perhaps, quite counter-intuitive move within the context of business environment brought the company increased revenues, but only because the company is indeed acting upon its mission of being a sustainable company.

Patagonia has shown its success of adherence to sustainability principles through growth levels in their top line, margins, and market share.

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Photo by Malik Skydsgaard on Unsplash

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