Since 2015, REI has disrupted Black Friday — the biggest retail day of the year — by shutting their stores and giving their employees the day off to spend it outdoors. REI hired Edelman to get their Black Friday message out to the world and drive a transformative movement.

The average American spends 95% of their life indoors. Humans are becoming an indoor species. REI, as a purpose-driven outdoor retailer and the largest consumer cooperative in the U.S., believes a life outside is a life well lived.


We combined traditional earned media and influencer engagement with internal communications and compelling content creation to drive real, positive action.

Creating an #OptOutside hashtag, we helped REI ignite conversation and spark a national movement.

Through a similar social-by-design, integrated strategy Edelman launched #ForceofNature in 2017 to inspire and equip women to participate in outdoor activities.


1.4 million people pledged to #OptOutside, along with more than 170 organisations, parks and businesses.

Fourteen national and state parks joined in, offering free incentives for people to swap the Black Friday shopping run for healthy, active time outdoors.

Now in its third year, #OptOutside is considered a new holiday tradition – a grass-roots movement that so clearly illustrates REI’s commitment to its Purpose.

As well as winning at Cannes Lions, the campaign boosted employee engagement and saw job applications rise 92%.

Membership to the co-op saw nearly double-digit growth.

Meanwhile, #OptOutside was listed in Twitter’s top 15 trends of the year and generated 6.7 billion media impressions and 1.2 billion social impressions.