Brand Strategy Retail Media Build A Brand

How to build an effective retail media plan, lessons from Boots x Fenty


By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

October 18, 2023 | 6 min read

Retail media has exploded in the past few years and is currently worth around $100bn in global revenue and on track to account for 25% of all digital ad spend by 2026. But how can brands forge an effective retail media plan?

Fenty and Boots 'Match the nation' campaign

Fenty and Boots 'Match the nation' campaign

Traditionally, retail media has been seen as a conversation channel and not a tool for brand awareness or a place to provide inspiration and education. That appears to be changing, and brands are increasingly experimenting with more creative brand-led marketing.

It’s a new approach for many in the retail media space and requires a lot of hand-holding from creative agencies to help elevate campaigns. It also requires a different mindset from brands who are used to getting conversion data from their retail media budgets.

Why should brands invest in retail media?

  • Reasonable cost of media

  • Access to audiences otherwise not reachable

  • Best performance delivery

  • Unique shopper insight

  • Scale of audience

  • Omnichannel measurement

UK retailer Boots and the makeup brand Fenty teamed up earlier this year for an omnichannel brand awareness campaign - here’s what they did.

Boots x Fenty Beauty

When Fenty wanted to roll out its ‘Match the Nation’ makeup campaign, it turned to Boots Media Group and retail media agency SMG to drive brand awareness and encourage competition entries to become the new face of Fenty.

With a £600,000 media budget, the campaign generated more than 50M impressions and helped Fenty increase their market share in all stores near the sites. The campaign took an omnichannel approach with media across the full funnel, utilizing the whole Boots media estate and reaching shoppers both online and in-store.

Boots’ in-house creative team, Bhive designed a bespoke campaign for Fenty that was tailored to an individual touchpoint in the consumer journey. Fenty’s experiential agency was also on board to sure the creative aligned with the brand.

Fenty has 50 shades and is suitable for diverse skin types the concept behind the campaign was to help the UK public find the tone that matched them.

For the brand awareness phase of the campaign, Boots and Fenty took the campaign to six different UK locations to ‘color match the nation’ in what it called ‘roadshow’ locations. This included wrapped taxis, escalators within Boots stores and digital out-of-home placements, for ads driving competition, entry media was only booked where customers would be in the optimal position to scan a barcode.

The competition was exclusive to Boots customers with a microsite hosted by Prizeology. The entry asked Boots shoppers why they were fans of Fenty Beauty and what it would mean to be the next face of Fenty UK.

For the conversion part, all out-of-home and geo-targeted media, such as social and app push notifications, were targeted to prime prospects using ad card data and served in proximity to ‘roadshow’ sites.

Campaigns between brands and retailers can be highly effective in driving results, with in-store activations driving an average £1.92 brand ROI and an average 30% featured sales uplift.

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The success of the Boots and Fenty activation was down to the partnership the companies managed to forge, as well as giving Boots shoppers an interactive element to engage with.

Tips for brands to create a retail media plan

  • Don’t neglect in-store – around 88% of transactions still happen in a physical shop.

  • Get involved in the research and innovation of retail media – your media money will double as research money.

  • Think of retail media as full funnel.

  • Get other departments aligned as planning crosses multiple departments.

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