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Misaligned marketing

Dear REI,

As a longtime co-op member and professional conservationist who has worked with REI for years, I was greatly disappointed to see recent news reports of your partnership promoting Ford’s new Bronco. Climate change is the greatest threat to the future of the planet, not to mention humanity. REI has been outspoken on this issue. However, it seems that there is some inconsistency in your marketing, which in turn undermines your leadership. I like most of the REI’s membership still drive combustion engine vehicles, but I think it’s fair to expect better from your marketing efforts. Please reevaluate the direction of your marketing and the marketing consultants you are using. REI can and must do better. Thank you.

30 Replies


Thanks for reaching out about our recent partnership with Ford. We agree that how this partnership was marketed was misaligned.  We don’t always get it right, but are committed to ensure our marketing reflects our impact commitments moving forward. Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback.

The goal of our partnership with Ford was to create content where people could see themselves having an active lifestyle in the outdoors, in this case Sky Islands. That theme is common throughout the content we post on and share with the outdoor community.  

REI recently published our annual Impact Report, where you can get a deep dive on all of our sustainability work. Of note, in September 2020 we unveiled our new climate platform which includes a 55% carbon footprint reduction (scopes 1-3) by 2035, as well as a commitment to carbon neutrality through credits beginning with 2020’s emissions.  

We appreciate hearing from our members; when we get it right or when we miss the mark. Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide your feedback here in the community.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I've spent about 20 discontinuous years of my life In The Sky Islands of Southern Arizona. A dozen different combustion vehicles have brought me to my treasured destinations here. It's going to be a very long time before another type of vehicle will be able to get too many of these destinations. I long for that day. It will not happen in my lifetime. You just have to be realistic about your goals.

I am in alignment with intention though. I am concerned about how some people's intentions don't seem to be very well thought out. That's common in humanity, and I have been flawed with the same. Humility and empathy can grow in an individual and in greater society as well.

I have learned it's best to be careful about where you apply your energy. That should be true about organizations as well. 

As a member driven organization, I would expect a closer alignment with members intentions, however dreamy they may be. Part of the original Sierra club mission statement was to make accessible the Sierras. Don't hear about that much anymore.

In short, there are plenty of ways to expand the reach of this member driven organization. Make sure you are using the members' resources most effectively, and in close alignment with their desires.

I want to second Newcomer's statement.

Member "Driven" 


I am in total agreement with the comments in this thread.  What is surprising or maybe not, there are a lot of outdoor organizations advertising via having Ford as a sponsor, the Ford Bronco.  It seems outdoor organization that talk about climate change and wanting to do something about it go where the money is and that unfortunately doesn't always gel with their purported goals.  The Ford Bronco is not only an internal combustion engine, that type of vehicle usually gets poor gas mileage, and taking a vehicle off-road is generally not good for ecosystems.

I do hope REI and the other organizations I'm thinking about can do better in the future.

Found Myself Outside

I don’t know, but I think I view REI as just a store that sells outdoor stuff, and I just want to go backpacking or skiing or canoeing or mountain climbing, you know, get outside and do stuff

REI Member Since 1979

Valid, Member!


In many ways I do to, and if that was all they did, that would be fine, but they have been moving out of that box and getting vocal about climate change and environmental issues.  So now there is the store REI, and there is the activism REI.  If they were still just a store, then they wouldn't be sponsoring this social media like site and all the other things they are doing.

Found Myself Outside


you’re not wrong, unfortunately I find myself a tad cynical these days and feeling that 99% of what I read is someone trying to sell me something; including sometimes and unfortunately, some folks selling FOMO ‘the great outdoor experience’ - for my benefit- or their’s? (Did I get the apostrophe correct?)

Anyway, there seems to be a very fine line between activism and marketing, it’s so hard to tell...caveat emptor!

again, I’m busy planning my next hike, always 

REI Member Since 1979