Argos to extend alien family ad concept

Argos is planning to ramp up the ways it uses the family of blue alien brand characters across more areas of the business, as it prepares to launch the latest TV ad in the campaign.

Argos

The retailer is also considering launching a range of toys inspired by the blue aliens, following positive responses and requests from customers.

It will look to use the brand characters across more channels and to communicate more messages.

Nicola Brown, Argos advertising manager, says: “We’ve been careful not to use them in a blanket fashion everywhere until we could understand a bit better where they were well received and where to use them.

“One of the things we love about the aliens is they’re so flexible – so far we haven’t come up against a message we couldn’t express through them”

“[Toys] is something we are looking at, It’s different [to Compare the Market] for us because they used it as a promotional toy. It would need to be a viable commercial product but its definitely something we’re looking at for later this year.”

The latest iteration of the brand campaign, which focusses on the convenience of Argos’s immediate request and collect service, is due to launch on Sunday (15 July).

Argos has already started using social channels to expand the reach of the alien family and will repeat a previous initiative to have ‘alien mum’ host a live web-chat on Facebook, following the launch of the latest ad.

It has also run Facebook competitions to name both the son and daughter in the alien family.

Brown adds that while it’s too early to talk about the outcomes of new CEO John Walden’s review of the business and brand, she believes that the brand campaign has helped boost the retailers’ performance this year and is here to stay.

Argos reported just a 0.2 per cent slide in like for like growth in the three months to 2 June, a marked improvement on the 8.9 per cent drop reported last year.

Brown says: “There are lots of factors coming together to build greta results in Q1, but I do think the advertising is one element that is working well for us. Everything we se suggests its contributing to our improved sales performance.

“When we launched aliens we hoped it would be successful and we could stick with it for a while, and there’s nothing to suggest now that that isn’t the case. Response from customers has been really good.”

Argos is also hoping to raise awareness of its “credibility” in areas such as technology, and hopes to encourage customers who already shop with Argos for things like toys, to consider it when they are looking for gadgets and latest technology.

The new ad, created by CHI & Partners, is the third instalment of a £10m brand campaign launched last year to position Argos as the UK’s leading online retailer, that also has the benefit of a store network.

Online sales now represent 40 per cent of all Argos sales, and sales using the check and reserve service account for 30% of total sales.

Argos claims its UK website is the most visited high street retail website counting 430 million visits in 2011/ 2012.

The retailer recently closed a number of high street stores as part of the review being carried out by Walden, who joined as CEO in March.

The outcome of the review is expected to be revealed later this year, ahead of the Christmas trading period.

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