Marketing nightmare at LL Bean

The arrival of the LL Bean Spring 2006 Fishing Catalogue is aways cause for some celebration in my mailbox. I like looking at the new year’s selection of stuff I shouldn’t be buying.

Anyway, some poor soul in Freeport, ME has a lot of explaining to do. The second page of the catalogue invites customers to "Talk to Our Experts at Our FISHING HOTLINE"

The 800 number, which is "800-LLB-FIS_" (to find out why I’ve omitted the last digit, read on) offers some "experts" alright. But not the kind of experts most people want to contact. DO NOT DIAL THE NUMBER IN THE PRESENCE OF ANYONE! THIS IS NOT WORK SAFE!


After being told about this Royal Snafu last night, and after hearing the first five seconds, all I can say, is DIAL ALL PHONE NUMBERS before publishing them. I pity poor Bean, they are an excellent company and don’t need people like me blogging their embarassments.

Update: 1.31.06 – Kennebec Journal reported on 1.28 that the number should have been 1-800-FISHLLB. "A most regrettable mistake," sayeth the flack.


Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Marketing nightmare at LL Bean”

  1. David, best story I ever heard on this subject: a company a friend worked for was known as, let’s say, BVV (close enough for the story to work–want to disguise the actual company). The CEO has a brilliant idea. We need an 800 number! 1-800-CALL-BVV! It’ll be great! They design stickers, they change their stationery, they spend what I think was hundreds of thousands of dollars…then they call Ma Bell and ask for 1-800-CALL-BVV. Which happens to be the same numbers as 1-800-CALL-ATT. I do not think the CEO was sacked.

  2. hmmm…maybe it’s time i contacted them again about their email marketing, where we have extensive QA before it goes out….

  3. God that was a refreshing recorded message from LL Bean. and they appear tio be able to handle credit card data quite efficiently.



  4. Back in the dark ages when toll free numbers were being expanded from the traditional “800” prefix, our new CEO got a SkyTel two-way pager with an “888” prefix with the last seven digets matching his office phone. Those that forgot and used “800” with his number reached a similar, ahem, service.

    People were suprised that such a straight-laced guy would be two-way as well.

    There were a ton of very funny voice messages left after people apparently re-checked the number and redialed. I remember one guy who could barely breathe he was so flustered.

  5. God that was a refreshing recorded message from LL Bean. and they appear tio be able to handle credit card data quite efficiently.

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