Eastern Mountain Sports Tells Stuffy Outdoors Gatekeepers to Take a Hike With New Eastern Mountain Way Marketing Campaign 

Outdoors retailer teams with top agency SlapGlobal to launch first marketing campaign in decades, centered on making the outdoors accessible & fun for all

MERIDEN, Conn., Oct. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), a business unit of GoDigital Media Group and the most trusted source for outdoor adventurers and recreational enthusiasts alike, is introducing the world to the Eastern Mountain Way. The retailer’s first marketing and advertising campaign in decades will dive headfirst into reminding consumers that EMS is still here, is growing, and retains its deep – and quirky – commitment to making the outdoors more accessible to everyone. 

“For too long, gatekeepers have transformed exploring the outdoors into an elite activity that requires $400 vests--and it has to stop. With the launch of the Eastern Mountain Way campaign, EMS is reminding Americans that the outdoors is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere,” said Kerry Muricchio, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Eastern Mountain Sports. “EMS is bigger and better than ever, and still doing things our way – by offering high-quality gear and apparel at more accessible prices, with knowledgeable team members who are there to help every type of outdoor enthusiast find the items they need to enhance their time outside.”

EMS teamed up with advertising powerhouse SlapGlobal to develop the Eastern Mountain Way campaign, which launches October 17 with assets rolling out across video, print and digital advertising, in-store promotional materials, social media and influencer engagement. The multi-faceted and multi-phased campaign rallies around the way of life and experience that EMS customers and employees understand. 

“The Eastern Mountain Way campaign pushes back against the preachy, elitist outdoor brands that made people believe that you have to dress and act a certain way or be able to climb a class 5 rock wall to enjoy the outdoors,” said Gerry Graf, co-founder and chief creative officer at SlapGlobal. “The genesis of our campaign comes from archival internal videos featuring the EMS founders, employees, and offices from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. And it just showed us, from the beginning, Eastern Mountain Sports has their own way of doing things. Fun, quirky, sarcastic, but always with a pure love of the outdoors whether you’re an expert or a noob. As they say, they’ve been making the outdoors less annoying since 1967.”

The campaign’s first video spot, “Sorry About That,” dives headfirst into acknowledging that EMS closed several stores a few years ago and some customers mistakenly believe the retailer went out of business. In reality, EMS is back, stronger than ever, and planning to increase its retail footprint by 20% over the next 12 months. The “Sorry About That” spot features EMS employee Cai Siemski, from the Albany, NY, EMS location, explaining that a bunch of employees went out on a hike a while ago, lost track of time, and when they came back someone had closed their stores. Siemski goes on to remind people that EMS is still here and reopening. Doubling down on this concept, from Oct. 20-22, all EMS stores will be hosting a Grand “We’re Not Closing” Sale featuring 20-70% off EMS apparel and hardgoods. 

A second spot, “Out West,” takes direct aim at retailers who otherwise use high prices or elitist attitudes as blocks to enjoying nature. “Out West” honors the heritage of EMS founders Alan McDonough and Roger Furst by focusing on the brand’s high quality, affordable offerings, including its new ‘67 heritage line.

Over the coming months, the Eastern Mountain Way campaign will roll out additional creative around: 

  • Hiring the Eastern Mountain Way: Tying into the intrinsic love of the outdoors that all EMS employees share, EMS will place a job application drop box at two exciting locations. One will be placed at the Mount Washington Observatory, a private, non-profit scientific and educational institution and partner of EMS, known for being home to some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Another dropbox will be available atop a rock climbing wall that will be erected in New York City. Additionally, application flags with QR codes will be placed throughout outdoors spaces such as along hiking trails, lake buoys, and more. 

  • The #OptAnywhereAnytime Black Friday Campout: On the night of Nov. 24 2023, select EMS locations will host a parking lot campout for anyone who loves to spend time outside, anywhere. EMS is reminding people you don’t have to play by anyone’s rules to opt to go outside - there’s no wrong way to adventure – the point is just to get outside! And EMS stores will always be open to anyone who wants to camp, even if in their own driveway or backyard. Participants will enjoy entertainment, chances to win camping gear, prizes and receive special deals in-store. 

  • ’67 Product Line: Embracing its founding in 1967 and continued dedication to staying true to its founders’ vision – that everyone has access to high-quality gear that’s more affordable – EMS will launch a new line of outdoor apparel, which will be featured in the “Out West” spot. This video features EMS employee Shannon Walkden, from the Marlborough, MA, EMS location, sharing just what EMS products stand for: reliable and functional outerwear and gear that offers incredible value. 

  • SpokesZipper: Never a brand to shy away from facing customer feedback head-on, EMS will introduce its SpokesZipper ads at the end of 2023,  reassuring customers that their voices have been heard and EMS products are better than ever – even their zippers. 

Muricchio notes, “We’re not saying that our way is the best, we’re just saying, ‘you’re either an EMS kind of person, or you’re someone who will someday come to their senses.’ We believe adventurers from all walks of life will agree - from those who hike the neighborhood cul-de-sac to those on Mount Washington.”

For more information about EMS, its high-quality, affordable products, and its upcoming events and activations, visit www.EMS.com

About Eastern Mountain Sports
Eastern Mountain Sports is the premier outdoors retailer focused on inspiring happiness by connecting people with nature and each other. Founded in 1967, the company has over 50 years of heritage in providing quality, affordable gear to nature enthusiasts of all ages, and a rich history of supporting causes that protect and preserve the outdoors. With over 20 locations throughout the Northeast and a national ecommerce store, Eastern Mountain Sports is committed to ensuring adventure is accessible to all. To learn more about our commitment, values and products, visit www.ems.com. Eastern Mountain Sports is a subsidiary of GoDigital Media Group, a multinational conglomerate dedicated to inspiring happiness by connecting community, content, and commerce across consumer passion points.

Slap Global is an independent global creative company with a team that sits across three continents (US, LATAM, Europe).  A hybrid of communications, consulting, data and design, Slap is focused on solving clients’ problems from the ground-up. Slap is built on a fundamental belief in the power of creativity to make businesses grow. Led by two of the industry’s most celebrated creative minds, Gerry Graf and Maxi Itzkoff, Slap creates ideas that people can’t help but notice. Since the start of the company in late 2020, the company has worked with major global brands including Under Armour, Netflix, Doritos, Lay’s, AB InBev, CocaCola, Gatorade, Pernod Ricard, Fox Sports, Samsung, Uber, and Dove. Slap Global has been named the Most Effective Independent Agency in the World by the Global Effies Index and overall Small Agency of the Year by AdAge in 2023.

To learn more, please visit: slapglobal.com.

Media Contact
Debbie Ehrman
FINN Partners

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