REI #OptOutside: Consistency is Key in Public Relations Campaigns
By Emma Scott Singletary, Account Executive
Year after year, Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, has launched the campaign #OptOutside. Back in 2015, the first year of the campaign, the main goal was to get people out of the stores, off the couch and outside on Black Friday. But, this year REI did something even bigger by launching the Opt to Act Plan, a 52-week challenge to reduce impact, get active and leave the world better than you found it.
What made this campaign take the leap from one day to a whole year was the continued consistency throughout the brand and campaign. According to REI CEO Eric Artz, “As a single company, our impact is limited, but as a community, we can drive change that powers meaningful action beyond our walls.” REI notices the influence they have on communities and they invest in those communities. REI remains loyal to its values as well as its public relations tactics. Overall, REI is successful in all they do because they are consistent; a powerful yet impactful way to make a change in this world.
This campaign serves more as a social cause, however, it increased brand awareness by 14% after the first year of its launch. Every year REI sticks to its values of remaining true to the outdoors and closing down the company on Black Friday (no online orders processed, no storefronts open and employees have paid day off). Knowing every year that REI will be completely shut down for one day when most stores have extended hours, goes to show just how dedicated the brand is to respect their values and the world we get to explore.
REI noticed how successful the #OptOutside campaign was so instead of continuing to bring people outside, REI decided to encourage people to make a change. In 2019, REI launched Opt to Act and released 52 ways to help create an environmental change every week. Check out the list here and challenge yourself to take on the challenge: https://www.rei.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/OO_OptToAct_Checklist_2020.pdf.
From a public relations standpoint, this idea was more than great, it was genius. They took a successful campaign and aimed to make it more successful for the brand and the environment. What I admire most about REI is that they didn't take on more than they could handle. REI created a setlist, they hire employees that live out the company values and engage with their customers in more ways than shopping.