AdForum Exclusive: Con Williamson, CCO at Erwin Penland, Discusses the Winter 2015 L.L.Bean Ad Campaign

by James Thompson

AdForum's James Thompson recently asked Con Williamson, CCO at Erwin Penland, about the latest ad campaign for L.L.Bean, and how Erwin Penland used L.L.Bean's storied history and brand values to define its Winter 2015 “Guaranteed Season after Season” ad campaign. 

AdForum: Advertising apparel is challenging because consumers can’t physically touch and try on the products. How did Erwin Penland address these challenges, and what influenced its choice of visuals to convey the nuances of comfort and quality in L.L.Bean products?

Con Williamson: The products are really great and shoot well, so you can see quality and detail when you put a camera on them. So, close, technical shots, with a mix use in the real world. Also seeing it on a few Olympic athletes helps prove its worth.

AdForum: L.L.Bean has a rich history as a brand. How does L.L.Bean’s humble beginnings as a producer of apparel and gear for hunters and anglers still resonate in the brand’s products and advertising today?

Con Williamson: L.L.Bean is and always has been an innovative outdoor brand, so our task is to remind people of that aspect, as opposed to thinking about just our past. Everything they make is about getting you out, and helping you stay out longer. The ways folks enjoy the outdoors is always evolving, so L.L.Bean is always innovating to keep fueling that adventure.

AdForum: The idea of seasons – autumn and winter, specifically – strongly define the “Guaranteed Season after Season” campaign. What creative philosophy did Erwin Penland use to portray the passing of seasons and the durability of L.L.Bean’s products?

Con Williamson: The seasons each have a distinctive feel, and the gear you use in that season all feels different. So, a mix of great seasonal imagery with the appropriate apparel is one part, then language that works to kick off and get you excited for the new season.

AdForum: What limitations did Erwin Penland face when creating this L.L.Bean campaign for channels such as Instagram and Pinterest, and how did the creative team overcome those obstacles to leverage the power of social media?

Con Williamson: There were no limitations…We are really strong in social, and don’t really see those as limiting.

AdForum: L.L.Bean’s brand represents an active, outdoors lifestyle –even in the middle of winter. What aesthetic did Erwin Penland implement to engage this energetic and health-focused demographic?

Con Williamson: Just capture the energy and joy of being outside. Winter isn’t about sitting in, it’s just new types of games to play. 

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