Patagonia Says 'Don't Buy This Jacket'

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The caption "Don't Buy This Jacket" appeared above a photo of Patagonia's top-selling R2 jacket in a company ad campaign on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Photo: Patagonia

While most retailers are clamoring for your holiday dollars, one company is sending a slightly different message – think before you buy.

Outerwear retailer Patagonia launched an ad campaign on Black Friday and Cyber Monday telling consumers “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” The caption appeared above a picture of the R2 jacket, one of the company’s best-sellers.

The ad, which ran in The New York Times and was included in the company’s weekly e-newsletter, is part of the retailer’s Common Threads Initiative – a campaign that aims to persuade consumers to buy only what they need.

“Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time – and leave a world inhabitable for our kids – we want to do the opposite of every other business [on Cyber Monday],” the company said on its Website. “We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else.”

So, why would a retailer tell consumers not to buy its product? For Patagonia, the answer is simple. Every unneccesary product purchased amounts to loads of wasted resources and potential damage to our planet.

Although the company uses recycled materials in a number of its products, manufacturing and transporting its top-selling jacket still requires loads of resources, the company said. The R2 jacket requires 135 liters of water to make – enough to meet the daily needs of 45 people – and creates 20 pounds of transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions, which amounts to 24 times the weight of the finished product, the company said.

“As is true of all the things we can make and you can buy, this jacket comes with an environmental cost higher than its price,” the Common Threads Initiative Website reads.

No, the clothing retailer isn’t trying to take all the fun out of your holiday shopping. Its campaign simply encourages consumers not be tempted by rock-bottom deals and purchase only what they can use. Patagonia invites shoppers to take a pledge to reduce waste and over-purchasing this holiday season in an effort to preserve our planet for many holidays to come, the company said.

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