LL Bean last week took out an ad in the New York Times that was, on first look, a little perplexing.

If you were reading it inside, the full page ad was devoid of pictures or copy … except for this line:

Just bring this outside.

There also was the LL Bean campaign slogan, “Be An Outsider,” and one more line:

No, seriously. Take this outside.

And if you brought it outside, photochromic ink suddenly became visible, and with it LL Bean’s manifesto:

Welcome to the outside.
Where there are no strangers.
Only friends you haven’t met yet.
Where days have names
like beach, snow, and bluebird.
And where the smell of a campfire
means you’re in the right place.
You don’t need a passport to come here.
An invitation to play here.
Or a membership to belong here.
Just step outside your front door,
and you’ve arrived.
You can forget your age, your worries,
even your bathing suit.
Just don’t forget to bring your friends.
It doesn’t matter where you come from.
Only that you come often.
So wherever you are, join us.
Because on the inside, we’re all outsiders.
And if it’s outside, we’re all in.
Be an Outsider.


Ad Week< describes the effort as “marketing that embodies a brand promise, rather than just communicating it,” and judges it “a delight.”

KC's View: I hate to always think of things in terms of movies, but when I read the copy for this ad, I couldn’t help but think of the Nike ad that Mel Gibson’s character narrates in What Women Want

You don’t stand in front of a mirror before a run...
and wonder what the road will think of your outfit.
You don't have to listen to its jokes and pretend they're funny
in order to run on it.
It would not be easier to run if you dressed sexier.
The road doesn't notice if you're not wearing lipstick.
lt does not care how old you are.
You do not feel uncomfortable...
because you make more money than the road.
And you can call on the road whenever you feel like it,
whether it’s been a day…
or even a couple of hours since your last date.
The only thing the road cares about...
is that you pay it a visit once in a while.
Nike.
No games.
Just sports.


I love the LL Bean ad … because it is more than words. And that’s a big deal.