L.L.Bean is taking a month-long mental health break from social media

Discussion
Source: Instagram/@llbean; Photo: Getty Images/SeventyFour
May 04, 2022

L.L.Bean is taking a vacation from social media.

The retailer on Monday hit pause on making any social media posts for the month and left a “Gone fishin’ – See you on June 1” message on its Instagram page.

The break from social media is part of Bean’s campaign to get Americans outdoors and enjoying the many personal benefits that come from engaging activities in nature. It also connects with Bean’s support for progress on the mental health front during Mental Health Month.

Bean, last week, announced it was providing a $500,000 grant as part of a two-year partnership with Mental Health America. The partnership intends to reach people in local communities with outdoor programs built with a mental health focus. The idea is simple — get people spending time outside so they can see the mental health benefits that come with outdoor activities.

“For more than a century, L.L.Bean has helped enable people to get outside, based on the belief that experiences in nature help bring out the best in us,” Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean executive chairman and great-grandson of L. L., said in a statement. “Now, research confirms what we have always felt intuitively: Going outside is critical for our individual and collective well-being. We are so enthusiastic to partner with Mental Health America to help more people experience the restorative power of the outdoors in their daily lives.”

“Even a simple walk outside can lower your risk of depression, strengthen cognitive function and increase focus. All of these effects improve our mental health and well-being at a time when we need it most,” said Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of Mental Health America.

Mr. Stribling pointed to mental health studies, including one published in 2020 by researchers from the University of Exeter, that found just two hours a week outdoors reduced stress and anxiety levels, increased self-esteem and led to greater creativity.

People will be pleased to see how easy it is to spend two hours outside when they take regular 10-minute outdoor breaks during the week, he said.

L.L.Bean’s focus on mental health comes at a time when the subject is front and center in society, coming out of the pandemic. Recent news stories about celebrity suicides point to the potential for tragic consequences if mental health illnesses are not addressed adequately.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of L.L.Bean’s decision to hit pause on its social media posts for the month of May? Are campaigns such as Bean’s helpful in removing societal stigma around mental health issues?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The message here is very brand appropriate for L.L.Bean and will absolutely resonate well with their target customer base."
"Not only does it help reinforce the benefits of being outdoors, but it also supports its own employees during the month."
"It’s a really on-brand move, thats for sure. I was shocked to see that they also deleted all their other posts."

Join the Discussion!

21 Comments on "L.L.Bean is taking a month-long mental health break from social media"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Regardless of whether you agree or not, L.L.Bean has consistently stood by their principals, and that’s in part why it’s such an admired brand. This recent announcement is yet another example. There is a downside business risk to going dark for a month on social media, but clearly L.L.Bean is confident in their position and with the relationship they have with their customers. I do believe that campaigns like this create conversations and awareness, and that’s the most important outcome.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Their plan seems a bit convoluted to me. If they believe what they say about getting outdoors for mental health reasons (I agree), they should be shouting it in stores, in ads, and above all on social media.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

A strategy that is truly being authentically executed.

L.L.Bean is putting their money where their mouth is and practicing what they preach.

Authenticity is so important in retail messaging today. Transparency on strategy and processes is exactly what will drive customer loyalty. There is so much noise out there from brands talking health yet photoshopping body shapes and faces and many of us are sick of it. We want reality and truth in messaging and marketing.

L.L. Bean is doing a wonderful thing and I’m here for it.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I get it and I think it is on message for the brand. However it will be potentially frustrating for customers who want to interact via social with queries and questions. It’s basically like shutting down an entire customer service channel for an extended period of time – not terrible as there are other ways of getting in touch, but not great either. In any case, I don’t think complete absences from social are necessary; what’s probably needed is more balance on a day-to-day basis.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

The decision to pause social media for a month to “enjoy the great outdoors” is congruent with their brand. However a month is a long time to be away from your tribe. It will be an interesting to see how their customers react. I predict there will be applause, at least in the beginning. But I wonder if this opens the door for competition to use their content and social media strategy to create more awareness and even take a few customers. L.L.Bean is a brand that has loyal customers, but when you disappear for a month, a lot can happen.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

I say kudos to L.L.Bean. We should all take a break from social media. We all know that so many aspects of social media are not healthy for anyone. The message here is very brand appropriate for L.L.Bean and will absolutely resonate well with their target customer base.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

The business in me shouts WHAT? But my heart screams “wonderful move.” Watch competitors jump on to social media postings during this break.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I fully agree. “Let’s support mental health!” How could one say no? But will this program do that, or is it the “greenwashing” for addressing mental health issues?

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

The campaign is smart and useful. Based on the experiences of Uber and others who have pulled their digital advertising work (sometimes permanently), it would be a tremendous surprise if this was damaging to L.L.Bean’s sales — at all.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Maybe it’s L.L.Bean’s way of making more time available for its consumers to conduct outside activities by reducing the daily screen time for a month.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Or, maybe it is L.L.Bean’s way of making more time for its consumers to spend time on other on-screen messages. I can’t believe that even the biggest supporter of L.L.Bean will gain more time for outside activities by not receiving L.L.Bean’s messages.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Gene,

In this case I think it is literally the thought that counts. I can’t imagine L.L.Bean fans spend a full month glued to their screens waiting for more outdoor wear ads.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I think L.L.Bean’s decision is brilliant with the added benefit of being brand compliant and reinforcing. I don’t know if it will help the national mental health situation any, but a lot of us would be less stressed if we let ourselves “unplug” for a month.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

This is brilliant — and healthy — inside and out (pun intended). L.L.Bean is connecting mental health with the outdoors and practicing what it preaches with its social media vacation. Don’t worry about much loss of engagement without new posts. Their Instagram profile page is essentially an entire L.L.Bean website unto itself. Even the profile link clicks through to a massive wall of healthy outdoor activity images that lead to their online store.

Whoever thought of this campaign for #MentalHealthMonth deserves the entire month of June off, too. Maybe the weather in Maine will have gotten spectacular by then.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

It’s a really on-brand move, thats for sure. I was shocked to see that they also deleted all their other posts. I initially thought they might be looking to transition the look/feel of their grid and found this as a clever way to do it, but it looks like you can restore content within 30 days, so I would imagine that will be their plan. Whether L.L.Bean’s post is helpful to their bottom line remains to be seen, but it certainly is helpful in raising societal awareness of the importance of mental health, and for that I applaud them!

barryakirk
Guest

The bottom line question is an interesting one. Clearly the move is brand aligned — more importantly, it’s values aligned. And by putting action to their words, they are going beyond just giving lip service to the topic of mental health. AND, it has people talking about LLB in a positive way — how could that be bad for the brand?

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I love how this article is in direct contrast with the one on how much time we will spend inside our own heads in the metaverse. Real people and real experiences are what matter. L.L.Bean recognizes this and isn’t afraid to act on it.

Social media used to be fun, now its exhausting – necessary for business, but exhausting. Those of us who manage company social medias alongside their businesses would be grateful to be able to occasionally go fishing. I hope L.L.Bean starts a trend that makes it okay.

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Leadership on this topic seems really aligned with what they are about. Not only does it help reinforce the benefits of being outdoors, but it also supports its own employees during the month. I think that they may be able to go further to also speak to the benefits of going outdoors and being adventurous for children. L.L.Bean will successfully create conversations about mental health to make everyone more aware and to look for varied solutions.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

This is really interesting. I like it honestly. Last time a retailer made a big move to reject the conventional wisdom on marketing was when REI closed on Black Friday. I think many retailers have come to rely heavily on social media, and with good cause. The biggest risk however is that channels and consumers are fickle. Elon Musk is sort teaching us that right now by creating massive chaos at one of the traditionally sold channels.

I think for L.L.Bean this will be great. I think the rest of the industry will want to pay close attention to how this goes.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

While I applaud the sentiment, I doubt if it will move the needle on mental health. Organized group activities or other tangible programs or partnerships with parks or clubs would be more effective.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

An excellent way to lead by example, L.L.Bean. Not only will consumers remember this, but your peers will too. Well done.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The message here is very brand appropriate for L.L.Bean and will absolutely resonate well with their target customer base."
"Not only does it help reinforce the benefits of being outdoors, but it also supports its own employees during the month."
"It’s a really on-brand move, thats for sure. I was shocked to see that they also deleted all their other posts."

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