REI Opts for Outdoors Ahead of Holiday Sales

Retailer REI made headlines when they announced they will be closed on Black Friday in order to encourage shoppers to experience the outdoors. Since then, the company has given social shoutouts to several other brands hopping on the #OptOutside bandwagon, as reported by PR Daily.

REI #OptOutside

As a huge supplier of outdoor gear, this campaign makes perfect sense for REI. The store’s target audience is made up of outdoorsy people already, so encouraging fans of the chain to go outside is far from an uphill battle. The campaign also echoes the company’s mission of helping people “go outside and play.”

However, I think some brands piggybacking on REI’s campaign, including Clif Bar, may have just a tenuous tie to the message.

As coverage of the #OptOutside campaign has pointed out, a major retailer shutting its doors on Black Friday is remarkable since it will lead to a huge loss of sales. By opting to close their doors on the holiday, REI will lose money in order to make a statement. It’s a risky campaign, as lots of dollars will be lost no matter the outcome.

The same risk doesn’t exist for Clif Bar, as the company does not operate individual retail stores. While their target audience may prefer to spend the day outside and the message will likely resonate with them, the company takes on no risk from this campaign. Unlike REI, Clif Bar loses nothing if the campaign falls flat and no huge loss of sales. In addition, since they are not the ones spearheading the campaign, Clif Bar may not attract the branding boost that REI has been enjoying from the movement, either.

What do you think? Should more brands join in on REI’s campaign? Or would brands be better off creating their own campaign more suited to their needs?

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1 Response to REI Opts for Outdoors Ahead of Holiday Sales

  1. Matthew Covert says:

    I really do like this move by REI because I think Black Friday is bad for brands. I don’t think any company wants people literally fighting for their products. They also need to insure that their stores are a safe place to shop. Brands should also be wary of what people think about their employees working on holidays, some find it cruel for those who can’t take the day off so they can pay their bills.
    This campaign fits the true spirit of REI. Get outdoors and enjoy it. REI is doing precisely what their business is catered to. Throwing its voice in the arena is a great move and will resonate with a lot of people who are tired of the craziness that has become Black Friday.

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