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Good Campaign of the Week: REI "OptOutside"

Good Campaign of the Week is a regular feature that celebrates creative social good campaigns. Each Monday, together with Branding Magazine, we highlight a new project from across the globe that demonstrates a positive social message with innovation at its heart – showcasing the brands and businesses using creativity to do well by doing good. 

Rei OptOutside Black Friday Campaign

REI's 'OptOutside' Social Good Campaign

In the USA, Black Friday (Nov 27) sees millions of shoppers descend on stores to clamour over post-Thanksgiving bargains. In recent years the idea has escalated, even spreading to other countries, and marred with reports of people fighting each other over consumer goods. Some brands have decided they’ve had enough, and the tide has been to turn against this shopping craze.

Outdoor clothing retailer REI has announced it will close its doors on Black Friday 2015. With 143 retail outlets, this is a huge commitment — it is the biggest shopping day of the year. Instead of buying, REI is asking customers to enjoy the great outdoors instead.

The initiative, named #OptOutside, is designed to encourage people “to reconnect with family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday.” The launch film shows the store’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke, sitting at his desk. As the camera pans back we realise his office is actually on the top of a mountain — much to the surprise of passing walkers.

Watch REI's '#OptOutside - Jerry’s Office' Film Now

An accompanying website features stunning mountain photography and a list of hiking trails. There’s also a widget to construct social images telling your network where you’ll be on Black Friday. The accompanying gallery of these images show that plenty of people have already opted in.

For REI, more people going outdoors means more business, so it makes sense as a business and marketing strategy. Additionally, REI is a member owned cooperative, meaning profit isn’t their only motivation. As Striztle says “We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently.”

And to put the icing on the cake, REI is paying its employees to take the day off and enjoy the countryside too. Sounds better than hanging out at the mall.

D&AD Impact seeks to identify and celebrate great, transformative ideas that contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future for all. If you think you have a campaign that makes a real and positive difference to the world then why not enter it into D&AD Impact.

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