After touting Wikipedia image campaign, North Face quickly apologizes

The retailer’s team in Brazil teamed up with an agency to game the free online resource so marketing images would show up first in Google Image search results. Backlash came swiftly.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

It’s a case of being penny wise, trust foolish.

PR and marketing pros are constantly struggling to produce big results for their organizations and clients without breaking their budgets.

The North Face’s Brazil team and Leo Burnett Tailor Made, a division of the Leo Burnett agency, found a way to make a splash—getting to the top of Google Image search results—seemingly for free.

However, it left both The North Face and Leo Burnett with a hefty deficit in consumers’ trust. That’s because the agency gamed Wikipedia by replacing the photos for several popular tourist destinations, including Huayna Picchu in Peru and Guarita State Park in Brazil, with product-placement images.

The Guardian reported:

In April, the ad agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made, filled Wikipedia entries of Brazilian landmarks with professional shots featuring the brand, with the intention of causing Google to display the same images in the top few search results.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.