EXCLUSIVE: Columbia Sportswear Sends Out RFP

Just in, Columbia Sportswear has sent out a request for proposal (RFP) for entertainment marketing firms to attend a coming campaign to focus on the Columbia Sportswear target demographic. Columbia Sportswear Company owns Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, SOREL, Montrail and the Pacific Trail brands, but according to the request questionnaire the company sent out, the focus will be exclusively for the Columbia brand name.

Columbia Sportswear

From Columbia’s Facebook

A global leader in branded outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment, Columbia Sportswear Company is one of the world’s most influential outdoors and sportsperson’s brands. This latest request for marketing partners reflects not only new marketing strategies for Columbia, but a rather intense focus on outperforming marketing wise, competitors North Face in the lifestyle outerwear space. Columbia has requested agencies to focus their proposals on:

  • Celebrity seeding and outreach
  • Lifestyle PR
  • TV and film product placement
  • Entertainment event marketing
  • Celebrity endorsements and royalty deals

While Columbia currently does all their own PR and marketing “in house” this request, under-cover apparently, seems significant for a couple of reasons. First, their documentation directly takes aim at competitors North Face and Patagonia. Secondly, with the planned selection of a partner by August 2013, it’s clear this is a well thought out coming move for Fall of this year (which only makes sense). Given that the documentation specifically points our Omni-Heat® and a new product termed Omni-Freeze Zero, Columbia has very refined focus on where their needs are.

Not only is Columbia’s in house marketing team finely focused, apparently their game plan for the coming Fall is even down to which celebrities would look best in Columbia lifestyle active-wear. Jessica Biel, James Franco and others will hopefully don Columbia gear before heading out to Aspen, the Sundance Festival, and/or their vacations.

As for the details, Columbia has stipulated  requested proposals be s submitted via email or other electronic format, compatible with Microsoft products before the deadline of May 28, 2013, 2:00 PM. Three selected submissions will then be chosen for a presentation (possibly before the sourcing team) June 14, with the final agency selected from those.

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