Canada Goose is infamous for its rise to cult brand status using influencers and very little traditional marketing to become one of the most popular winter brands in the world. Now for it’s first-ever brand campaign, it uses a dogsled racer, a mountain climber, and other adventurers to remind city dwellers that its reputation wasn’t built in luxury fashion.
Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis, Out There is a short film that tells the actual stories of five adventuresome people who have relied on the brand’s outerwear for their survival in extreme weather situations.
“There are a lot of faux brands out there. They have masterful marketers who make up these tales about where they’ve been and what they’ve done, but there’s not really many brands in the world that have real, true stories,” says Kevin Spreekmeester, the chief marketing officer of Canada Goose. “And we felt this was the right time to make sure the audience understood that we aren’t just a popular jacket—there is a depth behind what they see in the street.”
To wit: Marilyn Hofman, a medivac flight nurse whose story is told in the film (actors have been cast in the roles of Hofman and the other adventurers), credits her Canada Goose jacket for saving her life. “We’ve known her for about 12 years,” Spreekmeester says. “She sent us a letter after she fell through the ice into the water in the Arctic. She was rescued by an Inuit man who was on the scene, but she sent us a letter to say, ‘Without this jacket, without the Snow Mantra I was wearing, I would not have survived. Not only did it keep me buoyed to the surface, it kept me warm—everything from the hips up was bone dry.'”
“I’ve got to tell you, we didn’t design the jacket for that,” he adds, “but, thankfully, our stuff is so well made that the jacket functioned beyond its purpose.”
The other stories featured in the film are those of Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest; Karl Bushby, a former British paratrooper on a quest to walk around the world; Alaskan dogsled racer Lance Mackey, a throat cancer survivor who has won four Iditarods and four Yukon Quests; and Arctic pilot Paddy Doyle, who survived three days alone on the tundra in the middle of nowhere after making an emergency landing.
Haggis shot Out There on location in New Zealand because the country offered a variety of landscapes, from snow to desert, to accommodate the stories that needed to be told in the film. “I think I was there for a week at the start just to see how things were going and to say hi to Paul, hang out, and do what a CMO does on things like this, which is really nothing,” Spreekmeester says with a laugh. “I stood very quietly and let the Oscar winner do his job.”
According to Spreekmeester, the filmmaker, a native of Canada, revealed that he was a fan of the Toronto-based brand when they first talked about the project. “He’s an expat living in New York, and over the last few years, he has started to see more and more Canada Goose on the street,” Spreekmeester says, noting Haggis said, “Every time I see it—I know this sounds crazy—but I’m filled with nationalistic pride.”