L.L. Bean Encourages: Discover Something


Still in the midst of its 100th birthday celebration, L.L. Bean is tapping customers as spokespeople for the first time in its history, using their stories to urge others to get outdoors and “discover something.”

After sorting through hundreds of submissions, Bean is focusing on three, and video vignettes follow them on their outdoor adventures. A single mom introduces her small boy to the wonders of salamanders, hiking and brook stomping, for example. A young North Carolina woman falls in love with the “dangerous beauty” of the Tetons. And a man describes how his L.L. Bean backpack has traveled with him up 104 mountains, through 14 national parks, five ex-girlfriends and one future wife.

“We’re just encouraging people to get outside more,” David Hughes, Bean’s account director at GSD&M, in Austin, Tex., tells Marketing Daily. “We’re not telling them to scale the side of cliffs, nor are we suggesting that they be so passive that they just sit around. The idea is that even when you think there’s nothing more to explore, just look around. There’s still plenty to discover.”



The videos are breaking online and in theaters now, and will run through the end of June. In the fall they will appear again as TV spots, he says.

The effort ties in with other previously announced centennial efforts, including its “Million Moments Mission,” which generates $1 for the National Park Foundation for every outdoor moment that consumers share on Facebook, Twitter or in person at various events, with the goal of generating $1 million.

And focusing on parents’ concerns about kids becoming virtual shut-ins (about 60% of parents say their kids typically spend less than an hour per day playing outside) the Freeport, Maine-based retailer is launching 40 new course offerings through its Outdoor Discovery Schools, ranging from multi-day expeditions to free clinics in the store.

As part of the “Discover something” campaign, consumers can share their own outdoor inspirations on a microsite, uploading their discovery video, and enter a Get Outfitted Gear Giveaway, as well as make direct donations to the NPF.

“L.L. Bean’s purpose is to strip away the elements of the word 'discovery,’ and put it under the microscope. You didn’t think it could mean so many things -- and no matter what the discovery is, L.L. Bean will have the gear,” Hughes says. “Whether someone else has been there a million times or not, when you discover something yourself, it’s new to you.”

Bean competes with the likes of Eddie Bauer, Lands’ End, North Face, and Patagonia.

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