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The winner of The Briefless Brief #1 is…

by Jo Rammell
14 min read

We were blown away with the incredible standard of entries for our first ever Briefless Brief. It highlights even more how amazing the creative talent out there is, and we’re so happy to be a small part of showcasing this.

As digital PRs, one of the best parts of our role is jumping into ideation sessions together. Before we head into any session, we remind ourselves that no idea is a bad idea, so there are no limits on our creativity and everyone has the chance to get involved. But some of our best ideas never come to fruition and we end up with a pile of ideas we’d love to do but they just don’t fit the budget or we’re restricted by what can be signed off by the brand.

So we decided to create The Briefless Brief, a way for us and the amazing talent in our industry to showcase those ideas that would never make it out of the ideation session.

After an influx of brilliant ideas that definitely screamed ‘NO WAY could we pitch that and get it signed off’, we're thrilled to announce the winner, alongside our selection of other standout entries.

And the winner is…

Megan Cliffe - Marketing Manager at Jessica Flinn

The Idea: ‘North Face Personal Space Saver Puffer Jacket’

Sometimes you're in an antisocial mood and need your space when on your way to or from the office, maybe you've had a busy day and need to decompress - so that's where the North Face Personal Space Saver Puffer Jacket comes in! This is the classic North Face jacket us commuters love and rely upon, but with a special secret - a hidden pully system INSIDE the jacket that will steadily inflate your coat to give you that extra space that you (sometimes) desire! Plus, a few extra layers are always welcome on those wintery commutes!

Why did the Evoluted PR team choose this winner?

Our team not only laughed out loud at this, but it resonated HARD. Who doesn’t hate a cramped commute with other people’s morning breath? 

Amongst all the imaginative entries, this idea came out on top because it ingeniously addressed a common pain point experienced by London commuters and office workers – the need for personal space and solitude during the daily grind. And she made it come to life  in a hilarious way. 

It captured the essence of the brief by offering a fresh and innovative solution that resonated with both the target audience and the spirit of The North Face brand.

Most importantly, if it was ever possible to launch this as a digital PR campaign, it would be headline grabbing, perfect for press and has the potential to go viral on social media.

We LOVED it!

What were the other standout entries?

Although we loved Megan’s, it was a very difficult decision, and we must show you some of the other entries that were close to winning and showed brilliant creativity. 

We thought these ideas were INGENIOUS and were accompanied by clever imagery…

Eva Cheng - Digital PR Consultant at Evolved Search + The Evolved team

The Idea: The North Face Pillow Puffer 

Long day at work? If you’re one of the 32% of Londoners working 49 or more hours a week, then you must be TIRED. You probably spend more time in your office and commuting than relaxing at home. The average commute time in London is approximately 45 minutes to an hour each way, giving you just four hours of free time per day given you get eight hours of sleep.

So why not claim back some time and catch 40 winks on your commute?

Introducing THE NORTH FACE PILLOW PUFFER, helping you claim back your free time with every commute.

Overworked and tired Londoners are everywhere which is why The North Face proudly announces the invention of the PILLOW PUFFER, a revolutionary garment designed to provide users with the opportunity to nap on their commute, featuring a built-in inflatable neck support pillow.

Key features of the PILLOW PUFFER include:

Chris Branch - Founder & Marketing Director at Seedily 

The Idea: North Face x Lego Boots

North Face and LEGO have joined forces to create an innovative product that captures the imagination of both outdoor enthusiasts and LEGO fans alike: a rugged London commuter boot. 

This collaboration brings together North Face's expertise in durable, high-performance outdoor gear with LEGO's iconic creativity and playful design elements. 

The boot is designed to withstand the challenging conditions of urban commuting in London, featuring weather-resistant materials and a sturdy construction to protect against rain, mud, and the wear-and-tear of daily use.

The unique aspect of this collaboration lies in the boot's aesthetic, which incorporates LEGO's vibrant colours and modular design principles. 

The boots feature removable panels that resemble LEGO bricks, allowing wearers to customise their appearance according to their style or mood. 

This modular approach not only adds a fun, interactive element to the boots but also demonstrates a commitment to versatility and personal expression.

Furthermore, the North Face x LEGO boots are equipped with advanced inner-comfort technologies, ensuring that they are not only tough and stylish but also comfortable for all-day wear. 

The soles are designed to provide superior grip on urban surfaces, making them ideal for the hustle and bustle of London's streets.

This collaboration is a testament to how two seemingly different brands can come together to create a product that is innovative, functional, and fun, catering to the needs of modern urban commuters.

We thought these brilliant ideas offered a fresh perspective on the brief and really stayed true to the brand’s ethos:

Megan Cushnahan - PR Manager at  Student Beans 

The idea: Pop-up wash stations

When I think of commuting, I think of being clammy and sweaty. I've often dressed for a chilly day, but by the time I've sped walked to the station and clambered onto a crowded carriage, I'm stood regretting my woolly jumper and padded puffa. 

To showcase its breathable apparel, North Face could suggest they are planning to install pop-up wash stations at major public transport stations across London. Maybe it's a shower cubicle, perhaps it's a baby wipe wash down, or it could even just be a space to safely take off a couple layers. Something that would make an example of the unnecessary 'clammy commute' and offer a helping hand to potential customers. 

To incentivise the wash stations, the sell would be that the first 100 people to partake in the pop-ups would be gifted a hero piece from North Face's breathable apparel.

Steph Ashmore - Head of Delivery The Agile Experts and  Program Management Consultant at Nexstar Media Group 

The Idea: Venture North

Explore the Great Outdoors with The North Face and LNER

The North Face, a leading outdoor apparel and equipment brand, and LNER, one of the UK's premier train operators, have joined forces to encourage urban adventurers to break free from the city and experience the breathtaking natural landscapes of northern England.

This groundbreaking partnership, aptly named "Venture North," offers exclusive discounts and rewards for customers of both companies, making it easier and more affordable than ever to escape the concrete jungle and immerse oneself in the great outdoors.

For The North Face customers, "Venture North" provides discounted train fares on LNER's extensive network, unlocking seamless access to some of the country's most stunning hiking trails, climbing destinations, and outdoor recreation areas. Whether trekking through the rugged peaks of the Lake District or exploring the windswept moors of Yorkshire, adventurers can embark on their journeys with ease and affordability.

Conversely, LNER customers can take advantage of exclusive discounts on The North Face's premium outdoor gear, ensuring they are well-equipped for their northern explorations. From weatherproof jackets and insulated boots to cutting-edge tents and backpacks, this partnership empowers urban dwellers to embrace the call of the wild without compromising on quality or preparedness.

"Venture North" is more than just a promotion; it's a rallying cry for city-dwellers to reconnect with nature, challenge themselves physically and mentally, and discover the awe-inspiring landscapes that lie just beyond the urban boundaries. Together, The North Face and LNER are paving the way for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts, fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world and inspiring a lifetime of adventure.

Danny Holden - Account Manager at  Red Consultancy

The idea:  Mount Everest Clean-Up

Problem: Former boundary of pioneers, Mount Everest base camp, has become an absolute dump. The former symbol of the brave and ambitious adventurer has become (to many) a symbol of hubris and human excess.

The solution: Bring the detritus to people's doorstep in the form of a product any city commuter recognises: the commuter's / accountant / urban explorer / gorpcore extroadinaire's puffer gilet.

As we know, every Tom Dick and Harry wants to climb Everest and takes little care for the environment around them - a truly pioneering thing to do in this situation is to preserve the beauty of this place, so TNF can lead the clean-up of base camp, bringing those materials to be re-purposed by Nepalese people into puffer gilets.

Adam Clarke - Growth Marketing Consultant 

The idea: Apocalyptic North Face advert

Having moved from the north to London town back in late 2010, I expected the weather to at least be better and the promise of a wonderful transit system to get me to wherever I needed to get to effortlessly, regardless of being squashed in the rush hour.

The reality was and is very different. It still throws it down in July, August and September. Trains still don't arrive and tube stations can be busier than the entrance to a Tailor Swift concert when the weather is grim. 

If I could speak to my younger self, I would tell him to have the right commuter gear for any and all eventualities. So, I didn't care if it was sunny when I got in at Clapham common and apocalyptic when I got to Bank. 

That's where The North Face comes in. It's not just for northerners trekking across the peaks, it's also for the self discerning London commuter that wants to look presentable when they finally get to work.

Oliver Riley

The idea:  North Face 10K Challenge – A Journey into the Heart of London

“…Never stop exploring, navigating, and trusting the process”.

My idea is to create a 10K run for commuters/ office workers who are passionate about all things running or fitness-related to participate in an active-based fun challenge one day after work, (Friday evening). With Marathon season approaching and spring in the air now is a great time to get moving and training! The concept is a race against the clock to run to various locations in central London that spell out the brand name ‘North Face’. Individuals or a duo will work together by themselves or as a couple using Google Maps on their smartphones to figure out where they need to navigate to complete the spelling/ acronym of North Face. Course time is expected to take 1hr to 1hr.15 max. 

All competitors will meet at the Covent Garden flagship store and will receive a competitor pack with a pen with Questions/clues that lead to the checkpoints and for them to fill out the answers as they go along the course. 

At each checkpoint, a selfie must be taken with the landmark, location, or building in the picture as evidence. Everyone who takes part will receive a T-shirt from North Face at the end of the run in Covent Garden Flat ship store where the run will end; as well vouchers to the winners for the fastest time for completing the course. Light refreshments to follow along with a music DJ bar.

Example - Location checkpoints:

N – National Portrait Gallery

O- Oxford Circus

R- Royal Opera House

T -The British Museum

H – Hacylon Gallery 

F – Fortnum and Mason

A – Annabells Club

C -China Town

E – Embankment Station

And we couldn’t miss out on the fun ourselves…

We know we can’t win, but we had to join in the fun. Here’s Evoluted’s entries:

Evoluted PR team

The idea: The North Face "CommuteClasp"

Introducing The North Face "CommuteClasp" – Your ticket to germ-free underground commuting!

You’re bustling through the tube, dodging other commuters like a pro, but the thought of touching those germ ridden poles sends shivers down your spine.

2023 research shows 46% take a longer or more costly commute in favour of it being more hygienic. 79% will also deliberately avoid holding on to handrails when on a bus, train or tube.

Fear not, The North Face brand already boasts the height of functionality and style, and now they’re taking it one step further for London commuters… The new “CommuteClasp” is available as an add-on for all North Face jackets.

It’s an ingenious clasp system to effortlessly attach to any tube or bus pole, keeping your hands free from germs. Seamlessly integrated into the jacket's design, it allows you to easily pop the CommuteClasp out, attach, and detach it to any pole on the Underground. When you need to hop off at your stop the CommuteClasp retracts discreetly back into your jacket. Now there’s no more awkward contortions to avoid touching handrails, or falling into a fellow commuter because you’ve tried to balance without.

Chris Ridley - Paid Media Manager at Evoluted

The idea:  The Climb @ Angel Tube Station

With a vertical rise of 90 feet (27 m) and a length of 200 feet (61 m), the escalators at Angel Station are the longest on the Underground, and in the United Kingdom.

With over 2 million people using the London Underground each day, The North Face could partner with Transport for London to turn this vertical climb into a motivational experience for commuters.

By using The North Face branded creative portraying people climbing their own mountains, with inspirational quotes from The North Face athletes and brand guidelines, we can inspire commuters to have a positive outlook on their day to help combat work-related stress.

I didn't have the space to explore it in my imagery but The North Face could also station helpers at the foot and the peak of The Climb to motivate commuters. It would also be cool to decorate the escalator in a mountaineering theme too.

Huge thank you!

Thank you so much to everyone for supporting and sharing the Briefless Brief and to everyone who participated in Briefless Brief #1. Your creativity, enthusiasm, and innovative ideas truly blew us away. We've loved seeing the incredible submissions and seeing your creativity WITHOUT limits. 

This is just the beginning of the Briefless Brief! There will be a new Briefless Brief challenge every month, offering you even more opportunities to showcase your talents and unleash your creativity. 

Keep an eye on our social media channels for updates on the release date of the next brief. Once again, thank you all for your support, and we can't wait to see what amazing ideas you come up with next!

Written by Jo Rammell
Senior Digital PR Specialist

Jo arrived at Evoluted towards the end of 2017, bringing several years’ digital experience with her. She cites the continuous innovation of new tools and how they can be utilised for targeting as being a key inspiration behind her interest in the industry.