I’m just gonna say it – Black Friday sucks. As a consumer, there is literally nothing I like about it. This morning, I opened up my daily copy of the Wall Street Journal (yes, I still get and read actual newspapers) and saw a full page ad stating that REI would be closing their stores on Black Friday. I headed over to their site and saw this covering their front page:
This is the most daring and brilliant use of company culture in an ad campaign that I can ever recall seeing. Everything about this campaign 100% resonates with the core REI customer. The REI brand is all about helping you find adventure. Hell, they even have a section of their site called the 1440 Project that does nothing but celebrate every minute of being outdoors.
For most, the first thought will be “why would a company close their stores on the busiest shopping day of the year?”. The answer is actually quite simple.
Black Friday Is A Firesale in a Mosh Pit
Companies aren’t making huge profits on Black Friday. They are pushing product at prices that are marginally profitable at best in order to try and get people to buy other products that aren’t on sale. People act like animals fighting for scraps of food just hours after they are done “giving thanks” for all the good that they’ve experienced in the past year. This is not what REI is about. This is not what REI believes. This is why REI is taking a stand.
Will they lose some top line revenue? Probably. Does it matter to the bottom line? Not really. This is a love letter to their core customers and their employees. It will drive loyalty to their brand in the long term, which is far more important than one day of low margin revenue.
REI knows who they are and they know who their customers are. This is something that takes an extreme amount of testicular fortitude and I absolutely love it.