Meh…REI’s #optoutside campaign

For some odd reason, many people are all abuzz about REI’’s #optoutside campaign.

How noble it is for a company to close on Black Friday. How it is great that they give their employees a paid day off (Full time and part time both? I honestly don’t know.) and how other companies should follow their lead.


To me it is just a big MEH…

Much like McKayla Maroney at the 2012 Olympics perhaps. Except I’m short, bald, and have no athletic grace. Other than that…

REI is a company that makes a bulk of their sales through online ordering.  I suspect their mainly affluent and “professional” consumer base does a good chunk of their shopping on Cyber Monday. For those people who enjoy the brick and mortar experience, a Saturday or Sunday should work just fine I suspect.

Basically, I just think it is a rather slick advertising campaign.  A chance to use social media very effectively and to get some great press for the price of the goose egg.

Kudos to the CEO and marketing department.  They know their consumer base and marketing accordingly. Brilliant!

People who do this type of research for a living tend to agree as well:

REI’s decision reflects its fundamental empathy for its customers, who have zero desire to stand in line for the best deal on a gorgeous fall Friday, when they could be hiking…

It is not being cynical to recognize why a company, whose aim is to earn money, is doing a slick marketing campaign.  (Though, that can backfire no matter how hip, cool and “with it” of a corporation you portray yourself as…)

On the other hand, getting excited about a company finding a great way to make money off their consumers’ interests, values and shopping habits seems….odd.

I have no criticism of REI itself. They make some good “bread and butter gear”, have a wide variety of products people seem to like and are well known for their excellent customer service.

Nor do I think the ad campaign is bad. Or cynical. Or terrible.

It is actually pretty clever I think. And happens to be a good message. One that happens to make REI money.

But it does not mean I am going to compare REI’s motives to Mother Teresa as one person did on a backpacking forum (Srsly).

Going outside on Friday instead of shopping is a good thing.  Ms. A and I did it last year. We have done it long before we met each other. We’ll do it again this year. So do many of my friends who are outdoors people.

A four-day chunk of time off is precious. And many of us would rather not use it shopping given the choice.

No cool #optoutside sticker on your MacBook Pro needed.  A reminder is not necessary of how much better it is to be outside rather than spending your time shopping inside for outdoor gear…

Or spend a few days at a trade show All. About. Gear. :O

Well…perhaps for most. 😉

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8 years ago

I am now on the fence also about this. Your comment about full or part time really got me wondering. I work part time at a Target and take no benefits plus I don’t acquire any vacation hours. This makes me really think about #opouttside

8 years ago

Have found out that ALL REI employees are getting paid time off regardless of full or part time status. Maybe they did do the right thing?