Imagine it's summertime and one of those days when the breeze is gentle and cool, and the sun is shining, and everyone's smiling, beckoning you to play outside. But you're stuck inside at your desk. We've all had those days, and surely, there are more to come. To alleviate that burning desire to play hooky, Kelty came up with Ditch Day and it's scheduled for this Friday. 

Eric Greene of Kelty

Eric Greene, Kelty's senior vice president

SNEWS talked to Eric Greene, Kelty's senior vice president, about brainstorming the idea and the content they created to pull off this inaugural initiative. "In the end, our products are built for fun," he says. "Because nobody works for the Wednesday, and everyone needs less work, less school, less PowerPoints, and less political craziness. People simply need more time outside making memories."

If all goes according to plan, cubicles and corner offices alike will be dark and empty this Friday, if only for a few hours.

Ditch Day sounds very similar to REI’s #OptOutside initiative. Did Kelty model it after REI and if so, why? How is it different?

Eric Greene: Ditch Day reflects our brand personality. It  includes humorous excuses for being absent from work and is a bit irreverent. The key difference between our initiative and REI’s efforts is that ours is about everyday outdoor pursuits where #OptOutside began as a holiday anti-shopping movement—so apples to oranges. Ditching can be a backyard cookout, dayhike, or concert—and it should happen during office hours. It’s about planting the seeds of a movement to get people outside and finding more joy in life.

What is Kelty expecting of dealers, customers, and others this Friday? 

EG: Kelty is urging its consumers to join in and go Keltying—take the day off and go outside. To that end, Kelty has provided everything a consumer needs on social media and at kelty.com/ditchday. This includes: a list of excuses (colonoscopy! exploding toilet! and more), a list of suggested activities, tools for inviting your friends, and much more. We're asking fans to join us, grab their friends and ditch, whether it's a long lunch or full day off, hitting the trail or hosting a cookout, and to share their journey with us through content submissions, which will get them entered to win Kelty gear.

What content did Kelty pull together to spread the word? 

EG: The Kelty website features a Ditch Day landing page that includes a list of quirky excuses for skipping work—“I’ve been summoned for jury duty" and “I’m sick...must’ve been the fish tacos." The first ideas were born last year during a company brainstorming outing at Flagstaff Mountain that went late into the evening and the list has grown every day.

There's also a list of different activities along with GIFs for texting to friends and convincing them to ditch. The program is amplified on Kelty’s Instagram and Facebook pages where we communicate with fans, share excuses and activities, and host product giveaways.

What will make this initiative successful? 

EG: This year, if we see people nationwide ditching on Friday and sharing their journey with us, great! This isn’t about selling products; this is about getting people outside and, going forward. We hope that this turns into a full-on movement. Should our planted seeds take root, our plan is to expand the program next year to include retail/e-tail partners and other organizations.

Just to be clear: You're asking people to lie to their bosses, right?

EG: Yes, because ditching is good for the soul. But to be fair, we're also asking employers to lie to their employees. It goes both ways—because bosses are people too. Ditch Day is for everyone.

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