2015: REI shuns Black Friday and pays employees to #OptOutside

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Today we feature outdoor gear company REI’s decision to close its doors on Black Friday last year as our marketing moment, a bold move that most retailers would not dare dream of but one that perfectly aligned with the brand’s “get outside” philosophy.

Not only did REI close all 143 of its retail locations, it also paid its 12,000 employees as if it were a regular workday and encouraged them to spend the day outside instead of hunting for bargains.

The retailer’s decision was widely covered in the press and was praised by consumers who chose to spend the day outdoors, documenting their adventures using the hashtag #OptOutside.

In today’s frenzied marketing landscape where brands are desperate to have an authentic connect with consumers, REI’s #OptOutside campaign proved that the retailer has a firm grasp on what it stands for as a company and knows how to translate those brand values into something that its target audience will appreciate.

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

Staff Writer

The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

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