With just two weeks until the midterm elections, Patagonia is doubling down on their increasingly political messaging, publicly endorsing specific local candidates for the first time in the company’s history.
As detailed by GQ, the company — and founder Yvon Chouinard — is throwing its considerable weight behind Sen. Jon Tester, Montana’s incumbent senior senator, and Jacky Rosen, Sen. Dean Heller’s challenger in Nevada, because they are “candidates that Patagonia feels will fight for public lands and environmentally friendly policies.”
“We are supporting Jon Tester because he gives a damn about protecting public lands — and, like us, he’s committed to fight back against anyone who doesn’t,” Chouinard said in a statement, adding that “Republicans in Congress… only serve the fossil fuel industry.”
If it seems crazy bold that an apparel company is endorsing political candidates, that’s because it is — the Washington Post noted that it might have been the “first time any brand’s explicitly endorsed specific candidates” — but Patagonia kind of dines out on crazy bold these days.
Last year, the company changed their homepage to read “The President Stole Your Land,” and they’ve continued with that same strategy, amending the message this time around to read, “Democracy Requires Showing Up” and “A vote for Jon Tester/Jacky Rosen is a vote for public lands.”
As righteous as the move seems, GQ did note that, “while it’s entirely possible, and likely, that Patagonia cares genuinely about public lands, the brand is also deeply invested in the success of public lands.” And they have a point: without the outdoors, outdoor gear isn’t going to be easy to sell.
But, even if the most cynical read on the scenario is accurate – Patagonia’s big marketing play is to sell clothes by encouraging democratic participation and nature preservation – that’s still way cooler than anything any other company is doing right now.
You can read more about it at GQ.