The clothing firm The North Face has been accused of computer vandalism after an advertising agency included several of its products in entries on some Brazilian mountains.
Leo Burnett Tailor Made, the company that made the changes, modified the photos of these items in April to include products of the brand. Thus, these images that included The North Face appeared among the first search results. The snapshots were edited to include backpacks and T-shirts of the clothing firm, but these changes were not perceived until the agency itself shared a video about the advertising campaign it had made. “With the ‘Top of Images’ project we were able to position ourselves and place our products in a fully contextualized way with elements that go hand in hand with these destinations,” explained the director of The North Face Brasil.
According to The Guardian, Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that runs Wikipedia, has criticized The North Face for its actions: “What they did was similar to destroying public property, which has been a surprising action on the part of the brand. “When The North Face abuses the trust it has with Wikipedia to sell more clothes, it’s normal to be angry,” Wikimedia said. “Adding content that is exclusively to promote the brand goes against Wikipedia’s policies, purpose and mission”.
The North Face, for its part, apologized for breaking Wikipedia rules and cancelled the campaign: “We are committed to ensuring that our teams and suppliers are more informed about Wikipedia policies”.