L.L. Bean Focuses on Heritage

Martin/Williams fo-cuses keenly on L.L. Bean’s heritage in a campaign that includes online ads and the retailer’s first national TV spot.

The broader media approach is meant to reflect a shift in the Freeport, Maine, company’s operations, which will emphasize Web retailing and retail stores in addition to its traditional catalog sales, said Anne Weber, a managing director at the agency.

“The catalog is where this company started … but the Web and retail stores have grown so quickly they’re a significant part of their business,” she said. “Print, as a vehicle to fuel those, isn’t as efficient.”

Though Bean’s previous agency, Mullen in Wenham, Mass., created a holiday-themed TV spot for the client several years ago, that ad only ran in spot markets, Weber said.

The new 30-second commercial, which breaks Aug. 20, focuses on the catalog and shows a hunting dog searching through the woods for something. The hound points at a mailbox as copy reads, “Looks like the L.L. Bean fall catalog is here.”

The spot concludes by encouraging people to call for a catalog or log on to the company’s Web site. Consumers will also be encouraged to visit retail outlets in the markets where they exist, Weber said.

“People mostly know [Bean] as a catalog, and that needs to be the first message,” she said.

A corresponding national print campaign hones in on company founder Leon Leonwood Bean and the principles upon which he founded his company 90 years ago. One print ad focusing on the company’s lifetime guarantee asserts, “Your shirt is your receipt.”

“The guy has been gone for a long time, but his spirit still roams the halls,” said Lyle Wedemeyer, M/W creative strategist and copywriter on the campaign. The campaign maintains the Mullen-developed tagline, “Start here. Go anywhere.”

The budget for the campaign was not disclosed. M/W won the $15-20 million account in October following the client’s split with Mullen, with which it had worked for about two years. M/W upended crosstown shop Carmichael Lynch and New York’s FCB in a review to win the assignment.

L.L. Bean has been ratcheting up its ad efforts of late. In addition to M/W’s effort, the client through Hauptman & Partners, Portland, Maine, launched a print campaign touting L.L. Bean Factory Stores in Maryland and Virginia.