Brand overexposure: The North Face versus Nike

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The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about how Nike and Footlocker maximised revenue from the Jordan franchise through careful timing of limited product releases.

Contrast this with The North Face. Below is a Korean blog post that compares North Face winter coats with different types of high school students as the brand has become so ubiquitous in South Korean school yards and on the backs of consumers during the winter months.

The bottom of the blog post goes on to compare The North Face with the duffle coats worn by previous generation of school children in a mocking way.

it is as much the winter uniform of the Korean salary man as his tie.

The North Face sees itself as a technical brand rather than a true luxury brand, but the vast majority of its jackets don’t see the mountains and ski slopes for which they were originally designed. It has begun to treat itself as a premium brand with its purple label retro designs and different fabrics like Harris Tweed – currently exclusive to the Japanese market. But how can this be maintained if the brand becomes this overexposed?

It is not a corner that it can easily get out of and technical innovation in the clothing design will be of limited use.

North Face overexposure