L.L.Bean Puts Modern Twist on Newspaper Ad

At a time when most marketers are turning to digital in increasing numbers, creating fun and interactive ads to engage consumers and drive sales, one company chose to go back to basics. Recently, one outdoor brand took to an age-old marketing channel with a disruptive approach – garnering attention while driving behavior change.

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Last week, L.L.Bean published a very sparse looking full-page ad in the New York Times that featured scattered text across the page. The ad read “Just bring this outside” along with the retailer’s new tagline, “Be an Outsider.” Once curious readers opened the ad outdoors, the page came to life revealing the company’s entire “Be an Outsider” manifesto. The ad was printed using photochromic ink, which is colorless indoors but becomes visible when exposed to ultraviolet light. The manifesto itself serves as an invitation for everyone to join L.L.Bean outside, “because outside is where we all belong." This campaign is very much in line with REI’s #OptOutside movement and The North Face’s recent Walls are Meant for Climbing campaign, as it steers away from highlighting products and services and instead serves as a reminder of the brand’s passion for the outdoors.

In a tech-focused era when consumers can be exposed to upwards of 5,000 ads in a single day, it can be difficult to make a lasting impact.  L.L.Bean not only broke through the clutter with a compelling message and activation, it achieved its primary goal in the process. The call to action was simple but hard to ignore, which allowed the brand to encourage behavior change just in the interaction with the ad. By putting a modern twist on a traditional medium, the company surprised many readers and ultimately got them outside.