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The North Face Canada's Social Media Takeover @ Red Bull Cold Rush

How we leveraged a full roster of athletes during a landmark freeskiing event



Origin regularly works with The North Face (TNF) Canada to plan and oversee their retail marketing initiatives from coast to coast. For years, we have also been managing Canadian social audiences as part of our community management. Following a successful day-to-day operation, an over-achievement of monthly KPIs and an ever-growing need for quality content, it was time to look for more creative ways to reach audiences.


In February of this year, TNF Canada hired Origin to support, plan and execute a social media takeover during one their gold-sponsored snowsports events, Red Bull Cold Rush. Origin was responsible, in collaboration with TNF’s Sport Marketing Coordinator, to curate, create and utilize athlete content during this six-day event.


A social media takeover occurs when a brand - TNF Canada in this case - adopts a single focus for a limited amount of time, while using multiple social channels to introduce its consumer to a different and engaging aspect of its brand and culture.



Red Bull Cold Rush was back this year after a three-year hiatus. Fusing the elements of backcountry slopestyle, big mountain, cliffs and alpine ski touring, it returned to its roots at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia.The objective was to create high awareness for The North Face brand in niche sports (in this case, freeskiing) and to producehigh-quality athlete content to push engagement rates in TNF Canada’s social channels.


With freeskiing attracting more and more fans/adepts every year, it was important to leverage this project to showcase the brand and its athletes as an important driver of the industry, putting them at the forefront of a key event of the 2016 ski season.


A new category called ‘People’s Choice Award’ engaged fans in a more interactive way, allowing them to vote for their favourite athlete segments, making content creation even more important for the TNF brand.



Out of the 21 professional skiers participating in this year’s edition, three were officially part of TNF’s athlete roster: Angel and Johnny Collinson, a brother and sister duo from Utah, and Tatum Monod from Banff, Alberta.In 2016, those three skiers found themselves at the forefront of the freeski industry, rapidly transforming into icons for the sport. The Collinson siblings brought charismatic and magnetic leadership to a new-school style of backcountry skiing. Meanwhile, Tatum Monod repeatedly earned the nickname “the hardest-charging female skier in the game, long before her participation in RBCR.


The main strategy was to create exciting content around the  athletes’ runs: their lines, their moments of glory, their interactions with other athletes and, of course, their overall performance. It was important to target what TNF’s social audiences were demanding and to align content creation towards that. For that to be done, we determined the need to create siloed strategies  for each of the social channels that were going to be used during the week:


  • Instagram

    • Sharing high-quality images, to be used as a recap of the day’s general results

  • Facebook

    • Sharing relevant event news through high-profile images (i.e weather delays, podium results, etc.)

  • Twitter

    • Sharing live, up-to-the-minute updates on event’s course of action

  • Snapchat

    • Sharing a behind-the-scene look at some of the more interesting aspects of Red Bull Cold Rush, from the athletes’ perspectives (i.e opening ceremony, wait time in between heats, etc.)



The results were astonishing and highly successful. Over the duration of the six days, the content we generated created a massive increase in various metrics we analyzed during our post-mortem.


The numbers tell the story: Twitter saw an impressive increase of 15% of its follower base while generating over 5,000 impressions a day. Facebook saw an additional sea of new social followers - just under 9,000 - while Post Reach peaked during rush hour on every single day of the campaign. Instagram’s average engagement rate witnessed a positive curve that had been created by the frequency of posting during the week, something that took the users by surprise.Given the rise of Snapchat, this was a channel we could not afford to neglect. We dedicated resources to creating 50+ Snaps, and the @thenorthface account earned over 222,500 views in a matter of four days.


Based on the numbers and the reaction to a variety of original content, we’re able to say this campaign was a great success. The North Face came away with an arsenal of original content, and consumers were treated to a new aspect of The North Face brand and culture.








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