5 Reasons I Admire the REI #OptOutside Marketing Campaign

Did you see the holiday campaign from REI? For the second consecutive year REI made the bold move to close their retail stores and closed their online shopping on the infamous “Black Friday” to enable their team to have time to go outside and play! I admire their campaign for the following reasons:

1. It’s bold. This is not a lame boring old 10% off discount that consumers see all the time. This is closing their doors and  their online shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year! Wow! I love this “go big” attitude. It’s different and stands out from the crowd and generated national publicity here in the U.S. The advertising industry recognized the campaign with numerous big time awards.

2. It’s integrated with social media. REI has a series of tweets that mention #OptOutside. While using Twitter if you like one of these special tweets REI magically tweets you back plus they send you an additional reminder tweet encouraging you to skip the shopping lines and go outside to play. I LOVE THIS! It’s sad how often brands ignore their audience. And yet here we have REI tweeting back PLUS sending a reminder tweet. This is smart engagement.

3. This idea from REI is catching on and resonating with people. Now we see spin off promotions with other brands getting in on the “OptOutside” movement. Click here to see the inspiring National Parks Foundation work with beautiful images that really make me want to go outside and play. Click here to see how other brands like Google and Subaru are participating. Today I learned from reading a Hubspot article other brands are even adding a charitable element. Click here to see Outdoor Research is working the “OptOutside” message on Instagram.

4. The messaging behind this campaign feels true to the REI brand. Their messaging feels good and though large media outlets like: USA Today, CBS News and a host of other media covered the story and spread the news somehow this campaign doesn’t come off as a smarmy publicity grab.

5. It worked. True confession time. I am a reformed couch potato. I love being warm and cozy indoors. And yet once again I surprised myself and did indeed skip the lines. Just like I did last year I bundled up and went outside to play. I’ve learned when you have the right gear being outdoors in the winter doesn’t have to be torture, it can be fun! Props to REI for a fun feel-good campaign.

We all should be so lucky to find opportunities to have bold ideas that feel good, engage our audiences, and motivate people to change.