Columbia Sportswear Is Over The Moon -- For Real

Columbia Sportswear is a logo people are used to seeing climbing up mountains or snowboarding down them. But with the successful landing of the Odysseus robotic lander on the moon, the company is achieving a branding coup quite literally out of this world.

Photographs of the landing -- the first time an American-built spacecraft has touched down on the moon since 1972 -- showed the company’s logo, along with Intuitive Machines and SpaceX. Less visible is the company’s Omni-Heat Infinity fabric technology, wrapped around the lander to protect it against the extreme temperatures of space.

For Columbia, the partnership offers a chance to show off “the distinct and purposeful ways we invest in technologies that keep people warm, dry, cool, and protected,” says Scott Trepanier, vice president of marketing.



Columbia, based in Portland, Oregon, first developed Omni-Heat Infinity in 2010, inspired by NASA space blankets. “We adapted that to make it work in apparel, footwear and accessories and have continued to improve the formula,” he tells Marketing Daily. So when Intuitive Machines, the company that built the spacecraft, approached Columbia, “we thought we had the opportunity to take it a further step and become more of a technology partner.”

Trepanier says Columbia’s trip to space will build on the 80-year-old outdoor company’s rugged image and better position it as an innovator.

“Being associated with returning to the moon validates much of the work we've done,” he says. “And it’s getting our story in front of many people who might not otherwise be interested in Columbia or even in apparel technology.”

Spreading the news about the partnership also had Columbia exploring new frontiers, with a splashy takeover of the Sphere in Las Vegas.

Trepanier says the earned media response has been exceptional. Indeed, few brand partnerships rate a photo of their logo on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold.

The effort is already a social-media win, with the company’s activation with the Sphere boosting engagement rates 60% higher than the benchmark, with 70% of them new to the brand.

Trepanier concedes it will likely be a while before there are hiking trails on the moon. Still, he thinks the brand benefits from being associated with both the commercialization and democratization of space: “This is about us getting out there and finding the toughest places to test gear.”

And Columbia is already incorporating feedback from the work with Intuitive Machines into clothing.

“The IM team layered the reflective material in a way we hadn’t, and we’re now using it to increase insulation levels,” he says. “Our Fall ’23 jacket has a doubled-up layer, and it is arguably our best-performing warmth-to-weight ratio that we have right now.”


Next story loading loading..