We’re In This Together

Posted by Will on July 16, 2012

What are your favorite brands? The ones you’re truly drawn to and actually want to be a part of? For me, it’s Patagonia, Apple, Zappos, Larry’s Beans Coffee, Barack Obama and a few others. Rub them together and you’ll start to see common themes with these folks: A strong streak of progressiveness; simplicity; service; quality; functionality and the desire to make a contribution to a better world. In my best moments, those are my values, too. Whether it’s Patagonia’s unwavering fight against environmental loss or Zappos’ sense of fun bundled with great service, I get the feeling these folks are like me.

Each of these brands does a great job of putting their values at the forefront of their marketing efforts, making it easy for me to see myself mirroring back as I hit the “buy now” button. I’m cool with that. In fact, I probably even pay more to do business with them versus a cheaper alternative.  I’m cool with that, too. In my eyes, we’re part of the same tribe.

In the following spot, it takes only a few, powerful seconds for L.L. Bean to let us know what they’re all about:

As a father of three, when I see the little boy’s fingers grasping his father’s collar, I’m sold. A complete sucker. Bean’s values of family, commitment to durability, and care for the natural world ring true in that spot. They say to the viewer, “This is who we are as people, are you like us?” If so, you’ll be more inclined to believe what the company says when it speaks. In other words, you’ll buy their gear. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Doing business with shared values is easier and more rewarding for everyone. Birds of feather and all.

One gigantic caveat: It’s important for there to be to proof in the pudding. It’s not about sweet talk.  If the values spoken turn out to only be clever platitudes, even the best ad will be nothing more than a waste of money. Ball don’t lie.

As a side note, the spot also features truly lovely cinematography intermixed with almost bland test lab shots. This juxtaposition says to the viewer, “Bean’s doing the boring—but important—stuff to help you enjoy life to the fullest.” Watch the cuts between lab and life flow back and forth. Splendid work.