M/W Bows Bean Ads

Martin/Williams at-tempts to dispel the perception of L.L. Bean as a cold weather, outdoor clothing outfitter in its first campaign for the company.

“People associate L.L. Bean with coats that help keep you warm, but they don’t associate the fun [summer] activities with L.L. Bean,” said John Karlson, senior vice president of strategic development at the agency.

To showcase the variety of Bean’s products, the ads use photographs of people enjoying warm-weather activities with headlines such as “A company founded on the premise of repelling water also knows how to embrace it.” Inset photos highlight products, such as swim trunks and furniture, not normally associated with Bean.

The print-only campaign that breaks this week follows a model set by Bean’s previous agency, Mullen in Wenham, Mass. However, the tone of the work has shifted from Mullen’s overtly emotional message to one that emphasizes Bean’s 90-year history.

Though the agency had considered changing taglines, the shop retained the “Start here, go anywhere” line developed by Mullen in 1999.

“One of the things they need is to get the brand in the forefront was a little bit of consistency,” said M/W executive creative director Tom Kelly.

Highlighting the company’s heritage was important to remind people “there was actually a reason to buy L.L. Bean,” Kelly said.

“Telling the story of Bean is the backbone of the campaign,” Karlson said. “It’s not a division of some conglomerate; it’s a genuine brand of substance.”

M/W won the estimated $15 million account in October.