Mothercare pulls on heartstrings with first major ad campaign in a decade

The new campaign is the first piece of work Mothercare has done with new creative agency Mcgarrybowen in an effort to “re-establish” the brand amid financial pressures.

Mothercare is putting parents “at the heart” of its new campaign, marking the first major piece of advertising the retailer has done in more than 10 years.

‘First Steps’ rolls out today (5 November) less than three months since Mcgarrybowen was brought on to handle the struggling retailer’s advertising. It has been designed to re-establish Mothercare as “the leading global specialist for parents” and “start a new conversation” around what the brand stands for today.

“We really wanted to demonstrate expertise and empathy as a brand so it was very much about Mothercare being able to do everything we can to prepare [parents] for the first steps and the milestones. But if you look beyond that there are things we can’t prepare you for at all: the first hello, the first tears, the first goodbye,” Jayne O’Keefe, an independent brand consultant who has led the strategy and campaign development, tells Marketing Week.

“It brings a lot of emotion into it and puts the parents back at the heart of the thinking. One of the key insights we saw when we were developing the campaign was that sometimes the parents get ignored because all the focus is on the beautiful baby. Sometimes the parents’ needs aren’t celebrated and that’s what this campaign is about.”

The campaign comes as Mothercare prepares to close around 50 of its 137 stores by June 2019 in an effort to appease financial pressures. It revealed it had slumped to a £72.8m loss in the year to 24 March, with same-store sales down 1.3%.

It will roll out across digital out-of-home nationally for two weeks and in newspapers for the next month. In lieu of TV, there will be a heavy push on social media following a successful one-day launch on 26 September (the date the largest number of babies are born) which Mothercare says generated “really great interaction”.

“The formats we’ve chosen are more targeted for the Mothercare customer. It was looking at what is right and relevant for our target market and building the media plan based on those insights,” O’Keefe explains.

“It’s about finding our customer rather than being generic. [Social media] is the perfect environment for our target audience to interact with the campaign and to give it a bit more depth.”

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