Opting out of Black Friday

Why REI is closing on the biggest shopping day of the year.

It’s getting close to November, which means stores across North America are preparing/bracing for Black Friday in an effort to draw as much of the ravenous crowd to them as they can. Well, everyone except REI.

On Black Friday this year, the outdoor goods retailer will close all of its stores in the hope that people will immerse themselves in nature instead of aisles and malls. It’s also giving all of its employees a paid day off so they have a chance to do the same. In a spot explaining the decision, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke not only tells us why he believes people should “be in the mountains instead of aisles,” but shows us he practices what he preaches.

The broader “#OptOutside” campaign features print ads letting the world know why REI will be closed on Nov. 27 and, for those who might need a little nudge out the door, a new microsite¬†was created showing hiking trails built or maintained by non-profits that REI supports. If you’re interested in bragging ahead of time about how you managed to avoid the chaos, the site features a tool for putting one of a dozen outdoorsy backdrops on a photo of you to share to social media.


Brand: REI
Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

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