The North Face Wants To Build Walls Too

The North Face has just launched a global brand campaign designed in collaboration with its agency Sid Lee to make us look at walls differently.

The effort is designed to put a spot light on the sport of climbing, the brand proclaims, in a release on the new campaign. It has some political overtones as well.

“Walls are places where people in the climbing community come together to test themselves, build trust, and strengthen communities,” states a company release on the campaign, adding, “Walls aren’t meant to divide us, they unite us. Walls are meant for climbing.”

Clearly not everyone feels that way, if you think about a certain very big wall that’s been proposed for the U.S. border in the southwest.  Nope, nothing inclusive about that wall. Good news is it probably won’t get built because most rational people see it as a very big waste of money no matter who pays for it.

But I digress.  Back to The North Face, which, as part of its campaign, is making a $1 million donation to The Trust for Public Land to support public climbing walls in more communities with a focus on underserved areas, to make, as the campaign promotes, the sport more accessible to all.



“The North Face has been a passionate partner to the world’s climbing community for more than 50 years,” said Tom Herbst, global vice president of Marketing at The North Face. “We see walls as a place to unite our communities through the sport of climbing – a sport that requires trust and partnership. Our climbing community is truly global and we believe that communities are stronger when inclusive. Our intent is to inspire others to think more hopefully about the type of community we all want to work and play in.”

But wait, there’s more. TNF is partnering with gyms and other facilities worldwide to make Aug. 19 a global day of climbing, with free climbing opportunities in cities in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico, and China.

For every person who walks through the door of one of the participating gyms, The North Face will make a $5 donation (up to $50,000) to Paradox Sports, an organization committed to making climbing accessible to people with physical disabilities. Additional climbing activities with athletes will take place in New York, Shanghai and London. 

To help kick off the campaign, TNF took out an ad in the NY Times reads: “Some people build walls. Other people climb them. We’re doing both.”

That proposed wall in the southwest, if it ever gets built—and that’s a big if—will be amazing in one respect: People will climb it. A community will spring up from both sides, north and south,  that will work together to come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to climb it. Why? Lots of reasons, including the fact that it’s there and practically daring people to try it. And people love a challenge. And like-minded people are communal by nature and will figure out ways to make it interesting and fun.

They’ll just do it. 

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