For hundreds of generations, the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada have depended on the caribou that migrate through the Arctic Refuge. With their traditional culture now threatened by oil extraction and climate change, two Gwich’in women are continuing a decades-long fight to protect their land and future. Outerwear brand Patagonia created this video titled The Refuge, along with the Alaska Wilderness League, to stand in solidarity with the Gwich’in people to protect the Arctic Refuge from drilling.
The video tells a story by connecting various snippets of government officials as well as news reporters talking about the environmental concerns raised by drilling into natural resources and disturbing habitats. It also evokes emotion by featuring native Alaskans talking about what their land and community means to them, and how important it is to them to protect it. The video demystifies the Gwich’in people, making their situation relatable to the audience. The writing is approachable and uses a conversational yet friendly tone.
Attention has been paid to detail, showing gorgeous clips of the Alaskan villages and the surrounding scenery. Their culture has also been depicted, portraying a people rooted in a colorful and lively tradition. The video manages to relate to the audience empathetically, using background scores, engaging content, and compelling visuals. The Gwich’in people have been described as a unique culture that needs to be protected, yet also showcased as a community that is very much relatable. Stress has been put on the history of the community, the wildlife in the region, as well as the personal stories of the people who depend on land for their livelihood.
The Patagonia brand, being an outerwear company, is well placed to take on an issue concerning environmental and natural habitat concerns. The video follows a coherent and clear strategy, and ties in very well with the brand identity of Patagonia.
The Refuge is a great commercial video.