How Can REI Top Last Year's Black Friday Closure?

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REI Chief Creative Officer Ben Steele at Ad Age's 2016 Brand Summit.
REI Chief Creative Officer Ben Steele at Ad Age's 2016 Brand Summit. Credit: Jeff Lewis/AP Images for Advertising Age

If REI gets its way, people won't shop the day after Thanksgiving. They will hike, fish and camp. That's the spirit behind the retailer's "#OptOutside" initiative, which for the second straight year will involve closing REI stores on Black Friday. The program proved to be a huge success last year, generating a ton of positive publicity.

So how can REI possibly top the effort this year?

REI Chief Creative Officer Ben Steele, who spoke at the Ad Age Brand Summit in Los Angeles this week, answers that question below. He also describes one of the retailer's guiding principles, that "the essence of strategy is sacrifice."

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