When it comes to Black Friday, you either love it or you hate it. As someone who dislikes shopping to begin with, the idea of bracing frenzied hoards of shoppers (especially the day after stuffing my face on Thanksgiving) is an obvious “pass” for me. I have heard first-hand accounts from those who
survived experienced the madness that is Black Friday shopping. While the horror stories and viral memes that result from Black Friday are undoubtedly entertaining, the reality is that there are far better things to be doing than chasing doorbusters and lightning deals.
— REI (@REI) October 27, 2015
Instead of promoting special deals in honor of Black Friday, outdoor and fitness retailer REI closed its 143 stores the day after Thanksgiving and announced the launch of its #OptOutside campaign. Through the use of the designated hashtag #OptOutside, REI asked people to share how they were choosing to spend Black Friday on social media. The goal of the social media campaign was to encourage employees and customers to enjoy time outside rather than spending the day shopping on Black Friday.
By inspiring people to #OptOutside, REI is not only growing its social media presence but is more importantly connecting with its employees and customers on a genuine level.
The company’s decision to close on Black Friday inspired other brands to hop on REI’s #OptOutside bandwagon.
Through its Twitter account, REI actively engaged in online conversations in real-time with individuals interacting with the hashtag #OptOutside.
After challenging the Instagram community to #OptOutside and share the adventures online, REI compiled some of the best photos to highlight the fun and excitement in exploring the outdoors.
Pro skier Caroline Gleich shared her excitement to #OptOutside of Black Friday on social media. The use of the hashtag #ad in her social media posts indicate that there must be a promotional deal between REI and Gleich.
In support of REI’s Black Friday campaign, more than 5,000 MeetUp members participated in outdoor community MeetUp events. MeetUp allowed users to find others who are similarly inspired by #OptOutside and looking for a way to spend their day.
The trending hashtag has become a way for community members and organizations alike to suggest fun ideas of how one can #OptOutside.
In pushing individuals to #OptOutside, REI has distinguished itself as a company that is clearly committed to the overall wellbeing of its employees and customers. Considering the massive social media response to #OptOutside, it makes sense why REI is planning on extending the campaign–most likely, indefinitely.