shifts Christmas marketing tack

Online retailer is planning a shift in marketing strategy this Christmas away from formats that “virtualise” the high street experience and towards social media and content.


In previous years, Very has trialled marketing initiatives such as augmented reality, NFC and QR codes to draw shoppers to its mobile and desktop websites and get consumers engaged with the brand. However, retail director Jon Owen says the firm has “different plans” this year based around content such as behind-the-scenes videos and blogs on the latest fashion trends.

He told Marketing Week: “For Christmas this year we have different plans. We want to focus less on virtualising the high street experience and more on social media and content marketing.”

Very is keen to boost engagement with customers across not just social media, but also by using experiential marketing. Last year it signed up to be V Festival’s official fashion partner, setting up a tent showcasing a capsule collection of festival fashion and a “style SOS service”, as well as face painting and promotional merchandise giveaways.

Owen admits that while this doesn’t directly lead to an increase in sales, it does boost social engagement and buzz around the brand.

“Very is all about making stylish products accessible and we partner with events with that in mind. We want to engage with customers in the real world, not just online, and show a consistent brand position,” he said.

Brand ambassadors have traditionally been very important to Very, with the retailer signing up the likes of Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton. However, with the firm announcing last month its relationship with Willoughby is ending, Owen admits that celebrities will become less important as the brand matures.

Instead, the firm is focusing on its own-brand offering. It recently launched its “Definitions” range aimed at extending its appeal beyond the young females it has typically attracted to older, professional women. The move was supported by a marketing campaign, with Owen claiming that web sessions are up by 60 per cent since the ads launched and the first signs have been “fantastic”.

“Brand ambassadors will be less important as the brand matures. Celebrities were great for establishing the brand and we had massive success with Holly and Fearne,” added Owen.

“We are now trying to balance the shift to a more genuine design side and in the medium term our own brand products. Genuine differentiation comes about through technology and branding and these are our points of difference.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here