Argos marketing boss says Christmas push finally cements ‘digital retail leader’ status

Argos has used its Christmas campaign to put a stake in the ground against rival Amazon and shout about a “unique” delivery proposition that marketing director Stephen Vowles believes cements the ‘digital leader’ status it has been eyeing for the past year.

Competing with Amazon for online shopper attention ahead of the Black Friday rush, Argos today (6 November) launched its own same-day service – initially free for orders over £50 – and a ‘pick up in-store within 60 seconds’ promise for all click and collect shoppers.

“There’s no [retailer] that can do same-day delivery across the nation,” Vowles told The Drum. “Certainly none doing same day for free over £50 and none that can say that most of the time customers will walk off with the product within 60-seconds of arriving in-store.”

It comes on the back of what has been a promising year for the retailer, despite admitting "uncertainty" about what the coming quarter will hold. Argos most recently turned heads for generating £1bn in mobile sales in little over a year and while Vowles declined to predict the kind of sales it expects during the coming festive period he reminded that 25 per cent of total sales last year came through mobile channels.

“Argos is leaping towards a way customers want to shop,” he said. “What they want to do is browse and consider the brands they love in the comfort of their own home, then go online, place the order and get it at their home in the same day or collect it in store really quickly.”

As such the Christmas campaign focuses heavily on conveying a sense of speed and excitement. Running with the tagline ‘Just Can’t Wait for Christmas’, it highlights the brands available, such as Samsung, Fitbit, Nespresso and Xbox, alongside Fast Track Collection and Same-Day Delivery.

Shot on a mountainside in Chile’s Valle Nevado, Canadian snowboarder Justin Lamoureux is seen leaping from a 10-metre ledge holding a red flare before the film follows a cast of 50 professional skiers and snowboarders as they rush down the mountainside.

“We think it captures really well the consumer mind-set this time of year; whether you’re a child that can’t wait for presents or someone who can’t wait to get shopping done, for bargains, or for Christmas to arrive. We also thought it captured something that Argos can really deliver against.”

It builds on what Vowels initiated in the £10m ‘Get Set, Go Argos’ campaign last Christmas after it ditched it much-loved alien family in favour of more ‘adrenaline-fuelled’ marketing. And although it’s taken time, perceptions of the brand are on the up with internal research showing that people think Argos is changing for the better and is highly rated on product range, convenience and speed.

“Argos has always been unique but we want to be unique in what is the future of shopping for customers,” Vowles continued. “Customers are beginning to see Argos in that light. John [Waldon, chief executive] painted the picture of Argos as a digital retail leader and people weren’t very clear on that direction of travel and what it looked like. But what it looks like is beginning to emerge.”

The Christmas push begins in earnest today across TV, VOD, YouTube, Digital, display, email, press, as well as in-store. It was created by CHI&Partners and its sister agency AllTogetherNow with media planning and buying through Mindshare.

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