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REI: Our plan to close stores on Black Friday is no PR stunt


REI an outdoor retailer announced its plans to close its doors on Black Friday and while many believe it is genius others are skeptical that the company is creating a PR stunt.  The reasoning behind this decision is to give the company’s 12,000 employees a paid day off to enjoy with friends and family.  As part of a bigger campaign the company created #OptOutside to try to get people to spend time with friends and family outside rather than fight over clothing products in a poorly lit store at 3 a.m.

Of the skeptics, Jim Joseph, Cohn & Wolfe’s president of the Americas and chief integrated marketing officer, believes that the company is “using the announcement to exploit its positioning and ultimately promote its products.”

The company replies, “If it was just a PR stunt, we wouldn’t be closing down our stores for the day,” Ben Steele, REI’s chief creative officer, told PRWeek. “It is a very real action and wasn’t a decision we took lightly.”

What shocked me about the company’s decision was that Black Friday is one of REI’s top 10 sales days.

The campaign used three PR firms to help create and facilitate the idea.  These three PR firms include Edelman, Spark, and Venables Bell & Partners.

Ultimately, this reminded me that companies are steering away from force feeding their product down the consumers mouth, but instead becoming a company with values that outweigh those of numbers and dollar signs.


2 comments on “REI: Our plan to close stores on Black Friday is no PR stunt

  1. courtneykamin
    November 5, 2015

    I love REI, I shop there every so often and I think that the company doing this makes me love them so much more. I have never participated in Black Friday, because of various reasons over the years, but one thing I do hate is how many people fight and claw their way through to get something that is just some money off. It is terrible of what our society is turning into. Not only is black Friday not from door open to door close of regular hours, now stores start the sale on Thanksgiving, taking people away from their families on a national holiday.


  2. Sina Oshatz
    November 11, 2015

    I think that REI’s decision to not participate in Black Friday this year is not a terrible idea. Although it is among the company’s top 10 best sale days, by making this choice (whether is it a PR stunt or not) REI is gaining positive publicity in light of encouraging it’s employees and fellow shoppers to spend time with their family on this day. I agree with Courtney, I don’t personally like Black Friday shopping either, and I think that by closing their stores on this day, the company will not suffer in any way, but possibly appeal more customers to shop on other days as the holiday season nears. I think the #OptOutside campaign is a clever take on advertising the brand in a different way in comparison to traditional Black Friday sales that other stores host.


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This entry was posted on November 3, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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