REI Closes on Black Friday: How A Statement Against Consumerism Sells

Widely known $2.2 billion retailer REI has announced a new campaign called #optoutside encouraging people to get back to nature. On their new website, they provide a search engine for recommended hiking trails along with a statement that they will be closing all 143 store locations on Black Friday and an invitation to join the movement in moving away from rampant consumerism’s distraction from the natural world.

The irony: REI’s emphatic insistence to opt out of this day of customer craze is a huge selling point. However moving the message, REI’s decision to not support the massive consumer world will support the company’s own increase in sales. REI spokesman Alex Thompson comments on this dichotomy:

“The business strategy for REI has getting people outdoors at its core, and this is first and foremost about presenting the benefits of life outdoors and inviting people to experience it at an important time of year.”

We can be inspired by REI’s authentic intentions to pay employees for the day of no work and motivate people to get outside. And still, at the heart, the company’s campaign and product continue to bring seemingly opposed passions together. It is undoubtedly interesting that the methods of marketing for such an industry would be so successful when seemingly against it’s own ploy. Where shopping influences us to be inside and away from our connection to nature, big outdoor adventures lead to purchasing new gear. Where REI chooses not to support mass consumerism, the company strongly appeals to the very consumer in mind.

Story via Adweek.