It's fitting to write this blogpost on Friday, 25 Nov 2016, even though we don't celebrate Black Friday nor Thanksgiving in Australia. Just a few days ago at an AMSRS event we got to hear Niccola Phillips, Head of Art for M&C Saatchi, share her picks from this year's Cannes festival. Probably the best was the REI campaign from the 2015 Black Friday in which the store adamantly shut its doors during one of the biggest retail sales days of the year in America. Below is the video case study she shared and the 3 reasons why we think this is a form of RADvertising:
Why we love this:
1. It bravely goes against the grain. It zigs when everyone else zags. It goes against conventional wisdom ("We must open our doors at 3am because that's what our competitors are doing!!"). People are tired of seeing how much the Black Friday shopping holiday has been creeping backwards into the Thanksgiving evening and this brand finally decided to do something about it.
2. It builds the brand: It wasn't just some PR stunt to be forgotten the next day - it embodies what REI is all about - and they are doing it again this year. Their employees are still paid which also endears us to the brand and makes them a good corporate citizen.
3. It's become so much bigger than the campaign: This year national parks in California are opening their doors (gates?) to the public for free - and people are tagging their photos #optoutside. On the website where you can pledge to opt outside (5.2 million people have already), you have to wonder how many new family traditions are beginning because of this campaign... naturally they are beginning to call it Green Friday instead.
For all these reasons and more, we say this is full-on RADvertising REI!