Liberty CEO throws shade at North Face with slick ‘Thank You’ campaign

Liberty Oilfield Services billboard targeting The North Face
One of the billboards that went up Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Denver, CO, in response to The North Face rejecting a jacket order from a Texas oil and gas company. (Photo: Liberty Oilfield Services, used with permission)

The North Face denied co-branded jackets for a Texas oil and gas co.

Oil services company fights back “thanking” The North Face for using petroleum in their products

A Colorado oil and gas company with offices in Gillette, Liberty Oilfield Services Inc., last week slammed The North Face with a public relations affront after the outdoor recreation and clothing behemoth denied the sale of 400 co-branded jackets to a Texas-based oil and gas company, Innovex Downhole Solutions, Inc.

The jacket order, which The North Face called a “co-branding inquiry” in a June 8 press release, was reportedly denied on the basis of The North Face’s “brand guidelines and values.”

Liberty Oilfield Services’ CEO Chris Wright took the news of the snub as an attack on fossil fuels.

In response, Wright, whose company is a direct competitor of Innovex, took to YouTube.

In a video posted June 3, Wright argued that fossil fuels are needed to make the petrochemicals used in the plastics, nylon, climbing ropes, and other products that The North Face sells.

“The oil and gas industry couldn’t do without the support of dedicated customers like The North Face,” Wright said, adding the #ThankYouNorthFace hashtag – that’s since gone viral.

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In addition to the video, which has garnered over 52,200 views and taken off on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, Wright also launched the website and purchased billboards around The North Face Denver offices, all with similar messaging.

The North Face responded to a request for comment on the ad campaign and why they didn’t make the jackets with a link to a June 8 press release from the company.

The release differentiated between the ways the company sells its products. For example, direct to consumer, both online and in stores, through third-party retailers, and via it’s co-branding business unit, “which allows outside companies and organizations to place their logo next to ours on The North Face gear for various uses such as company gifts, as an example.”

The North Face further noted that co-branding requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

“Letting another company put its logo on our products and essentially affiliating our brand with theirs isn’t a choice we take lightly, which is why these inquiries are thoughtfully considered with our brand DNA and long-standing outdoor values in mind,” the release stated.

The North Face opted not to mention either Innovex or Liberty by name.

“There are times we choose not to sell product to certain organizations, from a variety of industries, with the intent of placing their logo next to ours,” The North Face said. “This includes companies in the oil and gas industry.”

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The North Face said they partner with likeminded groups and organizations fighting to protect the planet and remain focused on continually reducing their environmental impact.

“These are practical business decisions made to protect the integrity of our brand. They are never made with the intent to pass judgement on others,” the release said.

In the video, Wright noted that when he visited The North Face’s website he “failed to find a single product that wasn’t made out of oil and gas.”

Noting that globally 60% of clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas, Wright drew attention to the fact that for The North Face, it is likely closer to 90%.

Gillette-based Liberty Frac Manager Dan Bonnell told County 17 Wednesday afternoon that he and the local crew fully support their CEO and his satirical “Thank You, North Face” campaign.

“We think it’s awesome,” Bonnell said. “We support him 100%.”

Liberty (NYSE: LBRT) stock fell -6.3% yesterday, June 8, as reported by Seeking Alpha. The drop came following the company’s announcement of the pricing of an underwritten stock offering for over 12 million shares of the company.