Pret’s price rise comms crowned your marketing campaign of 2022

The sandwich chain defeated the BBC in the final to take home the coveted prize.

Source: Pret A Manger via Headland Consultancy

After two weeks of voting across four gruelling rounds, Marketing Week readers have named Pret A Manger’s communication around the price increase of its coffee subscription as the best campaign of 2022.

The campaign beat the BBC’s #ThisIsOurBBC campaign in the final round of the competition, pushing the broadcaster’s centenary activity into second place.

Prior to the final, both fought off tough competition from brands including Boots, Elvie, McDonald’s and Netflix, which all feature in Marketing Week’s top campaigns of 2022.

The winning campaign

Clear, simple, reasonable. These three words sum up why Pret’s communication around the price of its coffee subscription going up has been so well received. Customers are never going to be thrilled about having to pay more, but by laying out the facts and explaining why it was necessary – well ahead of the change coming into play – Pret was able to keep hold of existing customers as well as drive uptake among new recruits.

It all started with an email to subscribers (above) informing them the monthly fee was set to increase from £20 to £25. The email clearly laid out the price rise using the actual cost rather than a percentage increase. It then went on to explain why this decision had been taken and what the additional £5 per month would cover – including inflation, staff wages and VAT – before underlining the value of the offer and why it remains a good deal.

This was sent to customers six weeks ahead of the change giving people ample warning and clarity over what was happening. With so many brands being forced to hike up prices in recent months, it has been highlighted by Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson as the gold standard when it comes to communicating price rises.

Rather than denting consumers’ enthusiasm it seems to have spurred more to take up the deal, which even at the higher rate of £25 a month still offers value given subscribers are eligible to up to five barista drinks a day. But it makes sense for the chain, because people buy food and snack when picking up their coffee, with subscribers typically spending four times as much at Pret than those without a subscription.

The coffee subscription is now used 1.2 million times a week in the UK, up from 667,000 in 2021. Meanwhile, in areas of high shop density across Central London, Pret claims to have increased market share since introducing the coffee subscription, despite having to close a number of shops in the area as a result of the pandemic. Compared to 2019, Pret says its market share has grown by single digits, both in terms of transactions and revenue.