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REI Opts Outside With Anti-Black-Friday Campaign

By encouraging us to drop out of the annual shopping day, the outdoor retailer aims for more sales and brand loyalty.

REI Opts Outside With Anti-Black-Friday Campaign

Back in 2013, Patagonia launched its Worn Wear program around Black Friday. Instead of announcing a big sale, new products, or anything else to encourage the annual shopping extravaganza, the campaign actually tried to get people to repair their old clothes to last longer. It seems counterintuitive but the move actually energized Patagonia’s environmentally conscious consumer base, ultimately forging a stronger brand bond and perhaps more sales in the long run.

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That’s exactly the same approach outdoor retailer and co-op REI is taking with a new campaign aimed at discouraging people from joining the mad shopping rush to instead enjoy the great outdoors. Dubbed #OptOutside, the company is closing all 143 of its stores on Black Friday, while still paying its employees to take the day off too. Created by people from agencies Venables Bell & Partners, Edelman, Spark, and the brand itself, the campaign also includes a spot with REI chief exec Jerry Stritzke introducing the idea from his roomy office.

In a statement on the brand’s site, Stritzke writes, “For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.”

A new website provides a helpful guide to hiking trails and other outdoor activities around the U.S., and on Black Friday the brand’s main site REI.com will be a black takeover screen that pointing visitors to #OptOutside.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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