Ogilvy, Cabela’s Call for a ‘Disconnect Day’

By Erik Oster 

Ogilvy & Mather New York launched a campaign for outdoor retailer Cabela’s promoting Disconnect Day, “a nationwide campaign encouraging Americans to step away from their devices for a day of their choosing to enjoy outdoor activities while reconnecting with themselves, family and friends.”

The concept is not so far removed from Zambezi’s decision in 2013 to ban email for a day, or Jason Elm‘s experiment “going unplugged” for a day at Cannes. People (and not just those in the ad community) are well aware that they are overly reliant on their smart phones, but the insight that (according to the press release for the campaign) “kids…spend only four to seven minutes playing outside daily” is more than a little troubling.


So the brand teamed up with Ogilvy and country singer Justin Moore to garner attention for Disconnect Day. Moore turns in a sacrilegious cover of Louis Armstrong’s “It’s A Wonderful World” for the effort, in a spot that shows an idyllic outdoor scene with a twist ending. An anthem ad, meanwhile, repurposes terms like “selfie” and “log in” for the great outdoors. The wordplay comes across as a bit forced (especially the use of the term “Insta Graham” to refer to a s’more). Still, the Disconnect Day idea is a good one for an outdoor brand, and Cabela was smart enough to let people pledge to choose their own day rather than attempting to force any one designated day, making it a lot easier for people to actually follow through with the idea. Interested parties can take the pledge at www.MyDisconnectDay.com, which also slips in a list of “gear lists for recommendations on the best hiking, camping and general outdoor gear.”

“The core idea behind Disconnect Day is to remember how rewarding the outdoors can be in strengthening the relationships in our lives,” said Scott Williams, Cabela’s chief marketing officer. “When our children grow up, they aren’t going to remember how many likes they got on a status update, but they will remember their family camping trips and the first fish they caught.”


Strategy/Creative: Ogilvy & Mather NY
Producer: Cabela’s Inc.
Director: Tyler Stableford
Post-production: Black Powder Works