L.L. Bean “Snow Motion”

As the recession drags on, people are afraid of overspending on the holidays. So marketers need to make them afraid of something else: missing out on a moment that only comes once. That’s what L.L. Bean does in this holiday-shopping spot via GSD&M Idea City. Acknowledging that “every penny counts,” Bean aligns itself with the current consumer mood. A commercial that simply asked you to spend would seem oblivious, and this one doesn’t. But it appends another message to the one about every penny counting: “so does every moment.” Do you want to look back on Christmas 2009 — which, after all, will come just once and then be gone forever — feeling you were just hunkered down in penny-pinching mode? People don’t want to squander their money, but this spot makes them wary of squandering the moment, too. And that’ll soften them up for the concluding line that brings together the penny- and moment-conscious elements: “Make the most of both this holiday season with great gifts at great prices from L.L. Bean.” This is a much more potent message than one that merely touted bargain prices. It provides a sense of urgency about getting some nice gifts for your loved ones, even if the economy does stink out loud. The visuals are pretty, with lively color (people’s garments, mostly) seen against snowy backdrops, plus plenty of that weirdly shaded winter sky. But these could easily have seemed generic if the seize-the-moment theme weren’t giving an edge to the message. –Mark Dolliver