Debenhams dreaming of a bricks and mortar Christmas

Troubled department store retailer Debenhams has unveiled its 2018 Christmas campaign, in which it distances itself from the expensive ‘vanity project’ ads favoured by John Lewis and champions thoughtful gift givers, alongside the strapline: "Do a bit of you-know-you-did-good." 

The campaign will run across TV, digital, social media and print to support its premium gifting offer. In-store Christmas markets will enable customers to curate their choice of gifts for a loved one. There will also be a series of independent local food and drink pop-ups, including gin bars run by Pinkster, Halewood and Toad Distillery as well as fresh ice-cream rolls by Zizo’s Gelato.

Four 20-second ads depict people experiencing the joy of finding the perfect pressie, set to "Star" by Kiki Dee and a voiceover by Victoria, Dr Who and The Cry actress, Jenna Coleman.

Teasers will break online and on social media this week ahead of the campaign’s full debut on TV on Friday during Gogglebox on Channel 4. The ads will also appear on ITV, Channel 4 and across TV networks and video on demand in the run up to Christmas.

Richard Cristofoli, Debenhams managing director of beauty and marketing, says: “Shoppers told us that the real joy of shopping comes from discovering the gift that you know the recipient is going to really love. We wanted to celebrate that moment.”

Last month, Debenhams posted record annual losses (£491.5 million) and announced plans to close up to 50 stores, putting 4,000 jobs at risk. The retailer, which has been hit hard by online rivals and discount chains, clocked up exceptional write-downs of £512.4 million, including reductions in the value of its goodwill, stores and IT systems. It otherwise would have made a pre-tax profit of £33 million.

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?