Opt-out retail

06 : 11 : 2015 Retail : Brandstanding : REI

Seattle – Outdoor wear brand REI is to close its stores for Black Friday with the hashtag #OptOutside.

  • The company will shut all of its 143 stores and pay every employee to go out and enjoy nature
  • Chooses to miss out on busiest day of the year and prioritises brand values over profit
#OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle #OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle
#OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle #OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle
#OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle #OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle
#OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle #OptOutside campaign from REI, Seatle

An intriguing aspect of the initiative is that the brand is broadening the campaign by inviting other brands to do the same. The company seems to view its move as taking a stand against hyper-commercial culture, caricatured in the shopping frenzy that Black Friday induces in the US. 

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke invokes the evil of commercial madness in the promotional video encouraging other brands to follow suit. ‘We believe a life lived outside is a life well lived,’ he says in pseudo-formal rhetoric as he rises to his feet in impassioned fervour. As the camera pans out to reveal a mountainous backdrop to his mock political speech, his crescendo is interrupted by a young couple reaching the ridge where his office is located, and he explains to them simply, ‘I work here’, pointing to the nature around him.

The Big Picture

In The Age of the Long Near brands are standing by their values and encouraging other companies, including their competitors, to act accordingly. Innovative examples of this are increasingly appearing in retail, as our microtrend Boutique Altruism describes.

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