“What started as a moment has kind of become a movement”

When it launched in 2015, many of the bajillions of media impressions REI racked up with its #OptOutside campaign were a result of the sheer counter-intuitiveness of it all. A major retailer closing its doors on one of the biggest shopping days of the year is news worth talking about. For the co-op to make good on its commitment to the outdoors by closing down to give employees a paid day off that they could enjoy in the fresh air was cool in and of itself. But what took #OptOutside to a higher level was how the brand also created content and tools for people to use in their pursuit of fun outside: trail guides, expert advice, and more. What could have been an admirable stunt became an entire platform.

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What It Means:

REI took a risk last year and it paid off. What started as a simple decision for an important day for a retailer, become larger than a campaign.....it became a movement. This is what holistic ideas are all about. Making sure this was something that was valuable to the consumer was hugely important to the company. Putting it's employees first and also the consumers. Giving them awesome content for trails, inspiring stories of people living their life outdoors, expert advice via classes and events all in one place is effective.

In the past, Black Friday was a Top 5 sales day for REI. The payoff in putting action behind words has been priceless. “We talk a lot about the power of authenticity and the power of truth, and it’s got to be there in your stories, but it’s got to be there in your actions, too,” says Steele.

[Photo: courtesy of sduncanvideo/REI]