REI Black Friday campaign is a mistake.

I have never minced my words when it comes to my distain over the Black Friday hoopla that happens each year or that I was pleased as punch to report that sales were down by 11% last year.

That’s why I am surprised by my general chagrin towards the REI Black Friday campaign, #OptOutside, and it’s zealous crusade against Black Friday.

REI Black Friday

The REI Black Friday campaign is a missed opportunity.

While I dislike Black Friday and its cultural significance, I recognize that it is a powerful tool to sell. Actually, it’s strong enough to equate to 10% of yearly sales for REI.

Which leaves me dumbfounded. What’s the point in REI closing up shop for the night?

The REI Black Friday strike is a stab too far.

It’s always important for brands to be different than the competition, otherwise you don’t present a real choice to your audience. But it’s ludicrous to say “no” to Black Friday shopping when it’s such a powerful tool, is it not?

If REI isn’t fond of the midnight shopping frenzy (I am not either, for that matter), then why not operate with normal hours instead? Instead, “REI will have no Black Friday promotions and won’t process any online orders until Saturday. Just a small handful of its approximately 12,000 employees will be on call, while the rest get a paid day off.”

REI Black Friday could exist.

Here is my biggest complaint with the REI Black Friday campaign: REI is alienating it’s loyal customers.

When you think about the kind of person that shops at REI, a specific image and ideal comes to mind. These folks thrive on being active and enjoying the outdoors. The mindset of REI should not be one of telling customers to “#OptOutside” but, rather, to remind its customers of the goods they can use, which REI sells, while being outside this holiday season.

Recognize your customers, REI. Don’t pander to the general public. The REI Black Friday campaign is not your style and it’s not your place in the market.

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