Inspiration: Look at the power of print innovation from LL Bean

October 25, 2017

A few weeks back, LL Bean ran a full-page ad in the New York Times to launch a campaign promoting the company’s new brand message – Be An Outsider. The entire page appeared almost barren, an abundance of white space surrounding the scattered text “Just bring this outside” followed by the brand’s new tagline. The sheer contrast of white space in the sea of cluttered newspaper copy was enough to snag reader’s attention.


“No, seriously. Take this outside.” -  it went on to urge.


See LL Bean's Video from Twitter below, showing the effects in real time.


Upon exposing the page to sunlight, text flooded the page; a proclamation for the “Be an Outsider” campaign brought to light, quite literally – ultraviolet light. Words jumped off the page when outdoors, reading: 


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.


The brilliant ad had been printed using photochromic ink, appearing colorless indoors, but transforming to various colors when exposed to UV light. 
As a printer, we’re often challenged by the phrase “print is disappearing”. But if you’re clever enough to leverage the true power of the printed piece, you soon realize that print has not disappeared, but instead can be used to reveal message that would be otherwise lost in an inundated market. LL Bean’s campaign reminds us to capitalize on the unique opportunities that print brings to the marketing mix.


Like disappearing ink? Try doing that on an iPad.