Well, it was a good idea, at least.
A viral video is currently making the rounds that seems to indicate that Columbia Sportswear has replaced the hangtags in much of its outdoor apparel with a hangtag that doubles as a set of survival tools. As the story goes, there are six tools in all, including a sundial, sewing kit, fishing kit, sextant, handsaw, and water purifier, all of which are purportedly printed on tags. Reports indicate that these specially designed tags are currently available in Columbia stores in Istanbul, Turkey but will be rolling out worldwide shortly.
If that seemed a little too cool to be true, you’re right. Company spokesperson Scott Trepanier confirmed to the Gear Institute that the video was a creative concept that was released prematurely, and Columbia has no plans to make or distribute the survival hangtags anytime soon.
“It’s a very cool idea, but there is not a global rollout or implementation plan,” Trepanier said.
Columbia issued the following statement:
“We can confirm that Columbia Sportswear’s Turkish agency partner, Ogilvy, developed a creative concept for stainless steel product hangtags. This project was a response by one of our global partners to address the ongoing challenge from Columbia’s Chairman, Gert Boyle: ‘It’s perfect, now make it better.’ This mantra is applied to all aspects of Columbia’s business including product and marketing. This creative concept will be evaluated at a local level; based on its success, we will consider rolling out the concept in additional markets.”
The Istanbul-based branch of Columbia’s advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, created the video and it was released without permission from Columbia’s global headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Once the video hit the web, the story was picked up by several outlets, including Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo and Outside, which in turn posted it as news without independent verification.
“We tell our agencies to push the envelope with marketing,” Trepanier said. “It was an official proposal from our agency to our Turkish distributor, but there is not an actual implementation plan.”
It’s too bad. A sextant would have been really handy.