Americans spend 95% of their time indoors, a shocking statistic that goes against the very spirit of American retail giant REI. Recreational Equipment Inc is a cooperative with over 6 million members specialising in providing sporting goods and outdoor gear. The company’s outdoor ethos is enshrined in it’s working practice to the point that their 12000 employees get ‘Yay Day’ passes giving them paid leave to spend on outdoor activities.
Peepshow’s Pete Mellor has directed a wonderful animated film to capture the spirit of REI’s #OptOutside campaign. Starting in 2015 REI took the unprecedented move of wholeheartedly rejecting the Black Friday sale phenomenon. Feeling it went against it's core values. On Black Friday REI closed all of their 154 stores, suspended its online orders and gave it's employees the day off so that they could opt to go outside instead.
The #OptOutside hashtag has become a core part of their branding. As stated by REI :- “We believe in the message. #OptOutside isn’t just a hashtag, a flash in the online pan. It is a lifestyle that REI supports, 365 days a year. As our CEO Jerry Stritzke wrote, “As a co-op we share a simple belief that time in the outdoors makes us healthier and happier–as individuals and as a society.”
Matching REI’s sustainable ethos they choose Futerra a creative agency that specialises in working with brands that are symbols of positive change. Futerra approached Peepshow to deliver a short that expresses REI’s outdoors message.
The beautiful short takes the viewer on a journey through time. As noted by Pete "The film tells the story of humanity's retreat indoors - starting with simple structures to shelter from the elements and early farming to suburban houses and mega-cities". Pete's first challenge was to take illustrations created by Peepshow's Jenny Bowers and translate them into a 3D space. Painted effects ranging from luminous ink washes to dark crayon and flat blockwork helps to reinforce the visual journey. This is further enhanced by Jenny's brilliant use of colour which moves from jewel like washes to grey drab blocks of texture.
Combining Jenny's 2D illustrations with 3D elements created in Cinema 4D by Rok Predin, and Layla Atkinson's animated loops drawn in Flash and artworked in Photoshop, Pete then orchestrated a camera move through this heavily layered environment. He takes the viewer from a rural paradise, through the development of our civilisation and into a rapidly growing city. Composer Sebastijan Duh created the music. Whilst, Fonic’s Chris Swaine, sound design balanced the piece.
The finished short is a powerful visual interpretation of REI’s #OptOutside campaign. In less than 40 seconds it builds a claustrophobic atmosphere that behoves the viewer to take positive action.