REI Asks Gear Heads To “Find Out”

Dan Neil of LA Times doesn’t like REI’s new campaign from BBDO/Atlanta.

REI and BBDO have, in other words, made the daring creative choice to portray the backcountry as it is frequently experienced by most of us: cold, wet, often dreary, disappointing and downright uncomfortable. The company’s commitment to authenticity is commendable. It’s also a little nuts.
These ads do not make me want to run down to my REI store for more Gore-Tex. They make me want to pull the blanket over my head. They make me want to check into a four-star resort with extra-thick towels and extremely tall drinks.

That’s Neil’s call. But REI is appealing to another kind of adventurer, one who wouldn’t think of trading a wet tent for a four-star resort. Personally, I like how these spots don’t feel like commercials and my guess is the rugged sorts with REI memberships will too.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. these are great for the very reason you suggest, db, but they’re overwritten. wouldn’t they be just as strong or stronger without the “[date], [name] finds out that” part of the VO? (i could also do without the fake stars when it’s not daytime, but i’ll suspend disbelief.)