Last month, a $30 L.L. Bean tote bag went viral on TikTok, but don’t expect any such social media campaigns from the outdoor lifestyle brand in May. The retailer announced on Monday that it would not be posting on any social media platforms for the coming weeks in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.
A single tweet is all that might be posted this month from the retailer’s official Twitter account (@LLBean), “In recognition of #MentalHealthMonth, we’re taking a break from social media to spend more time outside. We hope you’ll join us, and take a little time for yourself in the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help you get out there: “
In addition to not posting in May, the company also said it would be wiping its grid on the Meta-owned Instagram. In place of its archived posts, L.L. Bean is offering online resources that encourage people to get outside and to prioritize their mental health. The company also announced a $500,000 grant and two-year partnership with Mental Health America to help fund programs and research that highlight the benefits of unplugging and getting back to nature.
It included quick tips on such topics as “5 Walks to Boost Your Mental Wellness” and “5 Healthy Breaks for Days at Home.”
“For more than a century, L.L. Bean has helped people get outside,” said Shawn Gorman, the company’s executive chairman. “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.”
Good Well Being
L.L. Bean is currently the most high profile company to support Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Overall, I believe L.L. Bean’s decision to halt its social media activities for a month could be valuable for both the company and its customers. Numerous studies have linked excessive social media consumption and depression. With spring coming into flower and weather improving, it’s a great time for people to mute their phones and get some fresh air,” suggested technology industry analyst Charles King of Pund-IT.
“The fact that L.L. Bean is embarking on this strategy in partnership with Mental Health America and also donating $500,000 to fund outdoor activities suggests that this is anything but a PR ploy,” added King. “The company is best known for its sturdy outdoor gear so this sort of effort is clearly in its bailiwick.”
Won’t Hurt The Brand
Many brands work hard to build up their social media presence, especially as a way to connect with younger consumers, so the decision by L.L. Bean is noteworthy given the power of the social platforms.
“If you look at the length of time that L.L. Bean has been a successful brand, and the company’s commitment to its core values, it is clear they can afford to take a break,” explained brand marketing expert and social media analyst Scott Steinberg.
“They’re promoting the need to get outdoors and explore nature,” Steinberg noted. “The beauty of it is that it still supports L.L. Bean and what they stand for. Instead of doing micro-moments on social media, they’ve actually created a campaign, which should help raise awareness and bring attention to the topic in the process. It all creates good buzz and uptick for L.L. Bean.”
It will likely earn good will from its core customers as well.
“It’s also worth remembering the Opt Outside campaign that REI launched in 2015 in concert with its decision to close its stores on Black Friday so employees could better enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday,” said King. “REI did not suffer as a result, and even inspired other retailers to follow similar practices. Let’s hope L.L. Bean enjoys similar success.”