Debenhams looks to make fashion ‘less intimidating’ with e-commerce push

Debenhams’ campaign for the autumn/winter 2015 season will seek to ‘make the new season less intimidating’ through a focus on outfit-building tools, personal shopper recommendations and an e-commerce push.

The £1.5m JWT-created campaign, titled ”A Match Made in Debenhams”, will roll out in the UK across print, digital, outdoor, in-store, direct mail, email, PR and social media as well as in international markets. The aim is to reach the brand’s target 35 to 54 year old consumer who wants to see “stylish, elegant, real women” rather than teenage models.

It will feature top fashion and beauty models Carmen Kass, Helena Christensen and designer Patrick Grant in an effort to “use recognisable, strong faces that have a true fashion credibility” to present “a more directional fashion approach”, according to Debenhams marketing director Richard Cristofoli.

He said the campaign revolves around insight that showed that while Debenhams customers are excited about new things, “the new season is not without worry and hesitation and the stress and fear of getting it wrong”.

He told Marketing Week: “It’s about building a whole outfit, not just a single garment or item. We wanted to play to our strengths and curate that to make the new season less intimidating and more exciting and engaging and to make new trends accessible.”

Making fashion accessible

Debenhams free in-store personal shopper service will show customers how to build outfits and match accessories, giving them a card showcasing their “perfect matches” to bring back each time they use the service.

The department store will push e-commerce sales by showcasing looks and recommendations from personal shoppers online and creating an outfit matchmaker and digital trend board. It will also promote how-to-wear video guides online and feature content that reacts to weather conditions.

“You can pick and select what will be the best look for you from a curated range,” Cristofoli said, adding that for the first time beauty will be integrated into the campaign, with every trend to be accompanied by “the perfect beauty combination to go with it”.

“It’s different for us and it’s also different in terms of what our fashion-based competitors can do,” he said.

For the first time the brand has created 15-second “Match Made” videos on Instagram showing outfits being created.

It will also create crowd-sourced mannequins, giving customers the chance to vote on their favourite looks which will then be showcased in-store.

‘An idea over an advert’

The campaign uses the same approach as the department store’s Christmas marketing push which used consumer research to develop a “campaign idea rather than an advert that could live and breathe across all channels”.

“Old media isn’t just about old channels – it’s very much about new channels as well,” Cristofoli said.

The brand is hoping that the campaign will drive full-price sales of its existing lines as well as the launch of its new Nine by Savannah Miller line, which is an effort to grow its share in casual wear.

“When we launch print campaigns, search on certain terms will increase, and every pound of online sales driven by email drives a pound of in-store sales as well,” he added.

“It’s about using every medium in the right way. It benefits both online and store sales.”

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