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LL Bean unveils ‘invisible’ newspaper ad — unless it’s viewed outside

Outdoor clothing retailer L.L. Bean has created an advertisement that is only visible when viewed… outside.

Its ad featuring a new manifesto encouraging people to "Be an outsider" ran in The New York Times on Friday.

When viewed in sunlight, the text is revealed, including the lines: "Just step outside your front door, and you've arrived. You can forget your age, your worries, even your bathing suit. Just don't forget to bring your friends."

L.L Bean's "Be an outsider" ad can only be viewed in sunlight
The VIA Agency | L.L. Bean
L.L Bean's "Be an outsider" ad can only be viewed in sunlight

The ad, created with The VIA Agency, was produced using photochromic ink. "As part of L.L.Bean's 'Be an Outsider' campaign, The VIA Agency wrote a manifesto to serve as an invitation to all people to join L.L.Bean outside, because outside is where we all belong," a spokesperson for The VIA Agency told CNBC in an emailed statement.

L.L. Bean is positioning itself as an outdoor brand focused less on individual pursuits and more on family and friends enjoying the outdoors, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Innovation in advertising is often connected to new technology online, such as automatic placement of ads on websites. But this isn't the first time a brand has experimented with more traditional press or print formats.

In January, Mars brand Maltesers put braille on a poster at a London bus shelter as part of its effort to promote inclusivity in advertising, while in April the Indian government released a coffee-scented stamp encouraging people to mail their families.

L.L. Bean, founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, has annual sales of $1.6 billion, according to its website. The family-run, privately-held company does not release full financial information.