A brawl has been brewing between North Face and a competitor borne from the notion that the clothier is pompous-and-self-righteous. Cue South Butt. The so-called parody brand was started by innocent-sounding-18-year-old Jimmy Winkelmann who took advantage of North Face’s name and logo to create his own line, which is now reportedly worth a few million.
NPR notes that everything from the name, logo and tag line flip North Face’s branding upside down. “Never stop exploring” became “Never stop relaxing” — a feat Winkelmann helps his customers achieve with t-shirts and a jacket (we hear more items are planned).
North Face is understandably upset — not only has their brand been hijacked by a snot-nosed kid (read: genius ahead of his time), but the thing is actually making money. According to Winkelmann, he offered to sell his small company to North Face for a cool $1 million. But once the outfit started showing revenue growth, he rescinded the offer. North Face hadn’t showed interest in taking him up on it — further proving Winkelmann was right about their pompous attitude being more than a perception.
When North Face sued, Winkelmann found another branding opportunity. The young entrepreneur’s attorney Albert Watkins said in response to the suit, “I think the general public knows the difference between a face and a butt.” That line seems to have prompted the creation of The South Butt Challenge a Facebook page where visitors are asked to tell the difference between a face and a butt.
For all its joke-making, South Butt claims not to be in the business of copying North Face, per a disclaimer on their site: “We are not in any fashion related to nor do we want to be confused with The North Face Apparel Corp. or its products sold under ‘The North Face’ brand. If you are unable to discern the difference between a face and a butt, we encourage you to buy North Face products.”