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.


The Millennial Generation: NYT 1.22

The Sunday business section of the New York Times carries a good examination by Tom Zeller of the "Millennial Generation", those born between 1980 and 2000 (the first generation to be born into a world where PCs were assumed, not introduced, unlike my generation which used typewriters in college and adopted PCs in our 20s). The piece is somewhat pedantic in discussing this new demographic’s infatuation with digital media, instant messaging, social networks, gadgets, etc..

Yet it is worth a read because of the insight that in four years this group will outnumber boomers and GenX.

The good quote from Vicki Cohen,vp at market researcher Frank Magid Associates:

"…every time you turn around there’s something new on the horizon. And this group, as we’ve been noticing, is kind of the arbiter, quickly determining whether things are hot or not." 

The question, for marketing, is the influence of this group on promulgating discoveries to the other demographics. Will a Facebook ever emerge for boomers and seniors? Will Flickr become the favorite of grandparents seeking pictures of the grandchildren? Will text messaging catch on with executives the way instant messaging has permeated corporate communication channels? 

Apologies in advance to non-Times Select members trying to find the piece.