This LLBean campaign brings new meaning to out of office

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Just because you're at work doesn't mean you can't be outside. At least, according to a new campaign that gives new meaning to "out-of-office" from LLBean, the 106-year-old retailer. As part of the "Be an Outsider" campaign the brand introduced last fall, LLBean is encouraging pasty office workers to spend a day taking their calls and computers beneath the sunny sky (or rain clouds). On Thursday, June 21, New Yorkers are encouraged to work out from an outside coworking space in Madison Square Park.

"We want to enable and inspire many of our outdoor enthusiasts to get outside," says Chris McDonough, chief sales and brand officer at Freeport, Maine-based LLBean, noting that the campaign aims to make the outdoors approachable.

The retailer worked with brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide, workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer and coworking company Industrious. In addition to New York, the experience will be replicated in Boston, Philadelphia and Madison, Wisconsin later this summer. Jack Morton offices will also participate.

"Studies show that being outside boosts productivity, creativity and reduces stress, so time spent outside and carrying out our work shouldn't be mutually exclusive," says Alicia Durfee, VP at Jack Morton.

Each outside office will seat around 50 workers, who can reserve space ahead of time through Industrious or just stop by. The events will take place rain or shine.

"We as a brand believe all weather is good weather," says Kathryn Pratt, director of brand engagement at LLBean, though she adds that there is some coverage provided.

A nearly two-minute-long anthem video for the push asks "What if open floor plans were truly open?" and touts the importance of the outdoors for creativity, productivity and happiness. The brand plans to promote the effort via social media; it will also release an e-book with tips on how to work outside. The effort is part of the "Be an Outsider" tagline created by LLBean's agency the Via Agency last year.

Of course, LLBean is not the only outdoor gear brand encouraging more time under the sky. Sporting goods brand REI famously closed its stores on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, in 2015 in order to encourage consumers to spend time outdoors instead, an effort it now continues every year.

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