Tag Archives: retailers

Are retailers wasting money with their big budget Christmas TV campaigns?

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When your local supermarket, department store or specialist retailer breaks a brand new above-the-line ad in November, you know the silly season is upon us. With so much revenue and profit generated in this quarter you can understand why the stakes are high. Ads increase exponentially in prime time slots to lure us and retailers live off the hope that the shopping public will spend their hard earned cash through their cash registers. Production values go up, a memorable ditty is sung and a plethora of celebrity smothers the campaign, but do retailers really need to spend so much on the celebrity endorsement? As a marketer, I fully embrace the necessity of advertising and I understand the value in it. I agree that prime time advertising slots are a must if you want to make an impact, as are production values, but based on the criticism lauded on the lacklustre impact Marks & Spencer’s “Leading Ladies” campaign, can retailers justify the expense?

In August Annie Leibovitz shot and featured 10 leading ladies from Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren and artist Tracey Emin to drive sales of ladies fashion (pictured). Did the campaign need to be so “high budget”? Beautiful and well produced was the advert, but I can’t help feel that the garments the ladies were selling were somewhat lost in the foray of the campaign. It was not great fashion and to be honest I doubt many women felt drawn to the concept that these leading ladies really dress in M&S, felt comfortable in what they were told to wear or really engaged with consumers to convince that M&S was back on trend. After all, they’re usually sporting the latest designer labels down the red carpet. With Marks & Spencer posting its ninth consecutive quarter of falling clothing sales, the results certainly don’t live up to the celeb hype. Therefore, you’d believe a rethink was in order for Christmas Peak but not so. Rosie Huntingdon Whitely, David Gandy and another Oscar winner Helena Bonham Carter feature but I reserve my judgment on whether this will truly resonate with the average M&S shopper this time round.

From Waitrose to Debenhams to John Lewis with its just released Lily Allen advert singing the Keane song Somewhere Only We Know, retailers will spend according to market analyst Nielsen, an estimated £390m on advertising over the last three months of 2013. That’s £128m more than one retailer M&S reported in profit for the first 6 months trading. But then John Lewis reported record sales last Christmas, so ads can work but you need the quality products to help close the loop.

Brands in crowded categories may require celebrity endorsement to drive advocacy, however some do it better than others. Do retailers really need to drive our emotion to shop in their stores with the glamour of celebrity wearing, eating or commenting on the quality, style and taste of what are really just run of the mill products? What’s more, how much of the campaign is devoted to the celebrity? I can’t imagine that the aforementioned Oscar winning actresses are inexpensive; on the contrary, they are eating into an already squeezed margin. And do celebrities themselves truly embrace the brand enough to tap into its target audience? I doubt the M&S leading ladies of the summer are donning M&S’ A/W collection, even when they pop out for a pint of milk.

Some of the heavyweights have ditched celebrities this Christmas. Asda has slashed investment in its Christmas advertising campaign and blasted rivals’ “celebrity filled” ads. The grocer has cut its budget by 10% and put value at the heart of its festive messaging.  It has also been announced that the Tesco ad will not be celebrity-focused either. We shall see if they turn their savings this Christmas into profit.

Brands are increasingly defined by experiences, so the use of celebrities has to perpetuate the story and allow consumers to visualise the products as part of their lives. Celebrity ads have become ubiquitous. Marketers often scrap over celebrities for a chance to use their name. The need for standout means marketers are exploring new approaches to maximise the celebrity’s appeal. Some work, others fail, some are unproven. Regardless of approach, the ad has to be credible and authentic.

For brands, often such deals give advertisers a direct line to celebrities’ fan followings via their personal Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. However, the true asset is a star’s relevance, buying a marketer the kind of buzzy exposure that only a Hollywood headliner can bring. The choice has to be right. So why tech brands have enrolled the world’s biggest stars to endorse cutting-edge tech products is anyone’s guess. Kevin Bacon for EE, Robert Downey Jr for HTC and David Beckham for Motorola back in the day; I really can’t see the connections here – please tell me if I’m wrong. Brand recall is vital but let’s not forget the goal here, revenue, and whilst Beyoncé may drive me towards buying Pepsi, do I care which retailer I purchase it in?

No one will argue more than me that ATL campaigns are crucial. But I shall enjoy critiquing from my sofa the raft of celebrity appearances and voiceovers, which will grace my TV screen over the coming months. Perhaps I will be congratulating my choice in viewing via Freeview+ to allow me to pre-record and fast forward past the ads to my favourite Christmas special. Then again I may just hold out for John Lewis’ much lauded Disney –inspired masterpiece.

Read the full article at http://wallblog.co.uk/2013/11/12/are-retailers-wasting-money-with-their-big-budget-christmas-tv-campaigns/

Daniel Todaro is Managing Director at field marketing agency Gekko.

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Marketing key to capitalising on back to university rush

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Daniel Todaro, MD of field marketing agency Gekko, shares his views on what retailers and resellers can be doing to maximise their sales to students and universities.
 
The yearly appearance of autumn leaves signal two things for retailers: it marks the end of summer, but it also signals the annual back to school rush.
 
With children of all ages preparing for the new school or university year, thousands of parents will be charged with the task of effectively equipping their offspring with the equipment necessary to navigate the upcoming year. Recent research shows the back to school bill for the UK totals £1.3 billion alone, but to believe this investment is purely made in stationary and PE kit would be a grave mistake.
 
Following the school rush, thousands of teenagers will be making the pilgrimage back to university too; a journey that could not possibly be made without the latest technology. While the parents will be the ones inevitably opening their wallets, many are allowing their offspring to take increasing ownership over the purchase decision-making on high ticket electrical items. Now, more so than ever, it represents a significant opportunity for retailers and brands to drive sales.
 
This time of year is always accompanied by a surfeit of advertising targeting parents to make their purchases for the inevitable return to school. The effectiveness of this advertising is not in question but it cannot work in isolation. Advertising serves to drive customers through the door but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that footfall will translate into much needed sales.
 
Without help, consumers will naturally gravitate towards value and promotions; which for brands can result little more than a sales roulette – particularly with frugal parents looking to limit their losses with their free-spending children.
 
The largest impact will inevitably be made at point of sale. However, like TV, this cannot act in isolation. What is crucial is a robust through-the-line marketing approach; a seamlessly joined up experience characterised by a strong narrative through the line, from the TV to the in store.
 
Having staff that are correctly trained to deliver the messages communicated in the advertising is pivotal. Staff should be able to communicate the messaging effectively and consistently; able to deal with any question. This human element is pivotal, and what many consumers visit the store for – the ability to have a real conversation with an expert and receive guidance in making a decision. After all, no one wants to speak to a robot(or buy the wrong product!).
 
Empathy is crucial, particularly in a category where consumers are not likely to be experts on the products and fearful of making the wrong choice and wasting money. However, compliance – which is often overlooked, is equally important. A brand may spend millions on artistic ATL, but this can be for nothing if the product and promotion is not displayed accurately in store.
 
Back to school is a gift to retailers, especially retailers specialising in technology. With a ready-made calendar hook to fuel footfall retail outlets need to put the work in only to convert this into sales. Retailers must ensure that they implement a through-the-line approach to convey a seamless message in-store where every available touch point is utilised to maintain the brand experience and drive sales with a higher average basket value.
 
Daniel Todaro is from field marketing agency Gekko

Read the full article at http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/opinion-marketing-key-to-capitalising-on-back-to-university-rush/032029

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