New Dixons Carphone CMO promises to be ‘disruptive’ as John Lewis approach ‘shows fatigue’

The tear-inducing tactics of the John Lewis Christmas ads, such as Man on the Moon, are showing “signs of fatigue,” according to Gary Booker, who was recently made CMO for the entire Dixons Carphone portfolio of brands.

Booker was previously CMO for Dixons Retail brands such as Currys and PC World, while Julien Diment headed up the marketing for the Carphone Warehouse side of the business. 

However, Booker now oversees the entire group’s marketing function after the two divisions were recently merged. Diment, meanwhile, is now working in the firm’s connected services division and overseeing  the rollout of its US store partnership with Sprint.

The first campaign under Booker’s newly expanded remit recently was a new ad featuring Keith Lemon talking up Carphone Warehouse’s upgrades programme. And Booker says that under his leadership, Dixons Carphone will continue to adopt a “disruptive, comedic” tone within its marketing.

He told Marketing Week: “Rewind a year or two and Curry’s PC World would never have been part of the conversation at Christmas but our Jeff Goldblum ads this year put our brand front and centre alongside the likes of John Lewis. It was amazing to see. We really wanted to take on a disruptive approach and do something that was fun.”

Booker, although keen to state his respect for the John Lewis approach to Christmas-based advertising, doesn’t necessarily think it is right for Dixons Carphone.

I love the work Craig Inglis does at John Lewis, he’s done a sensational job. But the weepie approach, like anything with life, is showing some signs of fatigue,” he explained. “If you follow a certain pattern for too long, new things will emerge. And right now if we take a more disruptive, comedic approach around big moments like Christmas we know we will get more standout.”

READ MORE: Aldi’s ‘agile’ Christmas campaign wins first round of Christmas ad battle over John Lewis

Despite now being responsible for all of the retail giant’s brands, Booker insists the change to his role has not been a shock and that Dixons Carphone will continue to champion separate identities for its main high street brands.

“The move has not been a shock as we knew we were always on a path to this. The key to our success is that we have kept a very clear identity for the different brands. We still have different brand teams, those focused on Currys and PC World, and those on Carphone Warehouse,” he added.

“The issue with a lot of businesses is after merging they lose focus on their core customer and by focusing on internal changes they lose touch with what made their individual brands compelling in the first place. We won’t have that problem as we have a very clear brand strategy.”

Dixons Carphone announced a better than expected 5% increase in headline like for like sales over Christmas, both at a group level and in its key market of the UK and Ireland. It also recently announced that it would close 134 stores as it aims to champion its ‘3 in 1 store concept’ featuring a Carphone Warehouse, Curry’s and PC World under one roof.

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