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.

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About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.