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An Outdoors That's Right Outside

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Mullen Breaks TV, Print Ads for L.L. Bean With Accessible Imagery
BOSTON--"Start here. Go anywhere" is the theme and tagline of Mullen's first television and print campaign for L.L. Bean.
Written by Jim Garaventi and art directed by Greg Bokor, the ads show people enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, boating or relaxing in a hammock. The main visuals in the six print executions and upcoming TV spots were captured by photographer William Huber in New Zealand last December.
"What we learned was that the outdoors is something that everybody defines themselves," said Mullen executive creative director Edward Boches. While many marketers portray the outdoors through extreme images of whitewater rafting and rock climbing, that's not what the average consumer can relate to, he said. "That's the glorified outdoors. The outdoors begins right outside their window."
One print ad shows a man wading out to his moored sailboat. "Don't mistake a street address for where you actually LIVE," reads the copy. Another ad features a family camping next to the water. Copy reads: "1) Brussel sprouts. 2) Baths. 3) The dentist. What else will your kids remember you introducing them to?"
All print executions show a copy of the L.L. Bean catalog, which holds the client's toll-free telephone number and Web address.
L.L. Bean hopes the campaign will evoke an emotional response and prompt consumers to take a new look at the retailer, said client representative Rich Donaldson.
"From home furnishings to children's goods, we're offering a full spectrum of products," Donaldson said. "We're trying to provide customers with a broader perspective of Bean."
TV spots will break April 5 and run for six weeks in 15 markets, including New England; Albany and Syracuse, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; Travers City, Mich.; and Richmond, Va.
The commercials will appear on TV programs such as ER, Frasier, Home Improvement, Friends and Ally McBeal, as well as NHL and NBA telecasts. Holiday TV ads are also in the works.
Print executions will run in April editions of magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Outside and National Geographic Traveler.
When Mullen won the L.L. Bean business last year, the budget was reported at $20 million. According to Competitive Media Reporting, the client spent $12 million on ads from January through November of last year and $15 million in 1997.