A branded content lesson from Patagonia

Worn Wear is a ridiculously lovely, thoughtful and moving film from outdoor gear company Patagonia. It features people telling the stories behind their favourite piece of Patagonia clothing – from a 15-year-old pair of much-repaired surf shorts, to children’s outfits that have been worn by four different siblings.

Rather than encouraging people to buy new Patagonia products, the film explicitly invites us “to celebrate the stuff you already own”.

It’s a fairly radical message for a campaign that was launched in the middle of the Black Friday shopping frenzy in the US.

But it’s very much in keeping with the Patagonia brand, which has its roots in founder Yvon Chouinard’s commitment to both the environment and outdoor sports.

Patagonia are clearly confident that their audience will appreciate the film’s message and be more likely to consider Patagonia next time they do buy something.

And, best of all, people like me will want share the film with everyone they know.

This is what ‘branded content’ means: creating meaningful, useful or beautiful stuff (sometimes all three) that people will want to read, watch, interact with and share – rather than just throwing advertising at them in the hope that they’ll buy your products.

Obviously, not every brand has the same message as Patagonia.

But respecting your audience enough to give them great content is a great way to start building a meaningful relationship.