Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is a big marketing show.

For a week in August, we’re inundated with brand messaging and products, more products … and more products.

Every brand has their happy hour, their athlete signing, their event that you must attend.

Some brands find that their message gets lost in the big crowd, however. Four trade show days isn’t enough, apparently, so they schedule pre-show events and gatherings to get a leg up on the competition.

We get plenty of these pitches at SNEWS and the O.R. Daily — as we’re sure retailers do, too. It’s part of the job.

But this year, we noticed something. More brands are trying to schedule their “exclusive” events on Night 0 — Tuesday, Aug. 4 — the same date and time of the Outsiders Ball.

The Outsiders Ball, which runs from 6-10 p.m. at Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center, is put on by the nonprofit Outdoor Foundation. The event spotlights and helps raise money to get more youth outdoors — a pivotal issue to the industry.


In its first two years, the Outsiders Ball has raised nearly $700,000 and supported more than 200 community youth projects across the country — many in conjunction with local specialty outdoor retailers.  It’s money that makes a difference.


Full disclosure, SNEWS and O.R. Daily are media sponsors of the event, but for good reason. The Outsiders Ball isn’t some stodgy dinner with boring speakers — it’s a fun, interactive and lively show, hosted outdoors and featuring some of the industry’s most important playmakers and the very youth brands and retailers so desperately seek. 


The Outsiders Ball is an event without overt product branding. It’s the one moment of the show where the entire industry can come together and support a critical cause without the burden of orders and MSRPs. Every one of us should be there. Every one of us should make it our goal to talk to youth at the event and support their projects.


So here’s our call to the industry: Let’s pledge to a “brand blackout” from 6-10 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4. No individual brand marketing, no products — just a “party with a purpose” at the Outsiders Ball.

–David Clucas