L.L. Bean Bags Crosschannel Merchant of the Year Honors

Sep 21, 2012 12:00 AM  By

On the baseball diamond, 2012 was not a winning year for Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. Off the field though? That was a different story. In particular, the tarp used to cover Fenway Park, the Sox’s home field, scored a homerun for L.L. Bean and was certainly its MVP.

For its efforts, L.L. Bean’s “Fenway Totes” campaign took Crosschannel Merchant of the Year honors in Multichannel Merchant’s 27th Annual MCM Awards, which were presented today at the NEMOA directXchange conference in Mystic, CT.

Both L.L. Bean and Fenway Park are New England icons that celebrated 100th birthdays this year. As part of its celebration, L.L. Bean, which has been the Sox’s rain-delay sponsor since 2010, decided to “upcycle” the old rain-delay tarp and used it to create a limited edition Fenway Boat and Tote bag.

The apparel merchant created 2,012 numbered totes in its Brunswick, ME, factory and sold them through its sales channels for $59.95. The response from customers and media alike was phenomenal: All 2,012 totes were sold in approximately 5 minutes.

“This was a stroke of sheer genius, flawlessly executed,” Lori McFadden, creative director at lorimcfadden.com, noted while serving as a judge for the 2012 MCM Awards. “L.L. Bean has an uncanny knack for getting the planets to align in strange new ways, while never deviating from its 100-year-old brand.”

If the canvas tote bags weren’t impressive enough, the way L.L. Bean went cross-channel to promote them was.

On June 7, L.L. Bean announced the opportunity to buy the tote bags in an email blast to its customers. The totes were also featured pre-launch on llbean.com, as well as on the Sox’s home page.

But word about the totes took off when L.L. Bean promoted them via social media: Almost 3,500 users engaged with Boat and Tote content on Facebook; engagements generated more than 67,000 Facebook newsfeed appearances; there were 200 tweets about the Boat and Tote, and those tweets garnered more than 609,000 impressions on Twitter.

L.L. Bean also promoted the campaign with a traditional public relations effort. A multimedia news release promoted Fenway Boat and Tote availability and drove views of an accompanying YouTube video, which gained 3,365 views. Broadcast media touted the tarp pre-release and followed up with launch day coverage.

On June 12, the day the totes hit the market, approximately 200 customers waited in line for the Fenway Boat and Tote at Bean’s Flagship Store in Freeport, ME.

“The messaging was cohesive, and the voice and nature of the output appropriate for each of the different media or channels,” Danielle Savin, director of retail strategy for Lyons Consulting Group, wrote in her notes while judging the winning 2012 MCM Awards entry. “I am sure this successful campaign will lead to the launch of other products.”

About the MCM Awards
The MCM Awards are a celebration of cross-channel execution for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer merchandise marketers. To be eligible, campaigns were required to have been started and completed between Jan. 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012. The awards were judged by a panel of b-to-b and b-to-c experts representing brands and consultancies.

NEXT PAGE: The 2012 MCM Awards winners

here’s to the winners

Here’s a look at who won in each of the MCM Awards categories:

B-to-B, Over $75 Million:
Gold: Black Box, 2012 AV, Multimedia and Digital Signage Campaign
Silver: Cole-Parmer, picoSpin Cross-Channel Product Launch
Bronze
New Pig: “May 2012 PIG Grippy Mat Cross-Channel Campaign”

B-to-B, $10 Million to $75 Million:
Gold: Baudville, Holiday 2011 Campaign
Silver: ePromos, BIC® 25th Anniversary Sale
Bronze: pc/nametag Inc., Spring 2012 Hi-Def Printing Launch Campaign

B-to-C, Over $75 Million:
Gold: L.L. Bean, Fenway Totes
Silver: EA SPORTS, Madden NFL13, 2012 Cover Vote & Partnership Campaigns
Bronze: L.L. Bean, Free Shipping

B-to-C, $10 Million to $75 Million:
Gold: Filson, Limited Edition Scarlet Cruiser
Silver: The Working Person’s Store, 2011-2012 Website Migration Recovery
Bronze: Ulla Popken, Summer 2012 Cross-Channel Campaign

B-to-C, Under $10 Million:
Gold: Fairytale Brownies, Holiday 2011 Cross-Channel Campaign

(No Silver or Bronze were awarded in this category)