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