REI takes a stand against Black Friday

By Rachel Smith | Impressionist

Black Friday is THE biggest shopping day of the year, it is also untimely placed the day after all Americans have spent giving thanks for the things they already have. REI decided that enough was enough, and that they weren’t going to stand for the midnight rush of people full of turkey and pumpkin pie. So for this holiday season, REI is encouraging people not to shop at their store for outdoor gear, but to actually be outdoors instead.

To make that point perfectly clear the active sports retailer has developed a series of commercial spots, asking their customers to get outdoors and walk off a little of that turkey. REI decided to close their doors on Black Friday, choosing to think of their customers and workers mental and physical health instead of their own wallets. Giving their employees a paid day off they’re showing that they believe the idea of Black Friday is wrong, but their employees shouldn’t suffer because of that. This move will hurt them financially since Black Friday is always one of their top 10 days, but the company feels that it is worth the sacrifice to make a clear statement about their values.

As their customers are outdoor sportspeople the spot is extremely well aligned with the companies DNA, showing that they truly care about the outdoorsy lifestyle that they promote. The play is obviously to endear the brand even further with their customers and make up the losses of the biggest shopping day of the year via increasing the lifetime value of their customers. When did mass retailers become so punk?

Here are the two videos announcing the campaign, one of which stars Jerry Stritzke, the president and CEO of REI, who took the idea of #OptOutside to a new height.