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Currys/PC World: This ad is clearly a typical product and price promotion ad

What's worth discussing, though, is the 'look and feel', and the end line 'We can help', particularly, in the context of the recent turnaround in DSG's UK performance; the successful repelling of Best Buy; and the demise of Comet.

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Curry's/PC World spotted earlier than anyone, and just in time, that in the world of e-commerce, the decline in the high street, price comparison sites and 'show rooming', there was no role in remaining merely a 'retailer'.  To differentiate and survive, they had to become a 'specialist' - an expert in, and an enthusiast for, their category.  And that this category wasn't two categories, and that therefore the two brands could be brought together.

What's ironic is that it was this exact strategy that had led to Best Buy's sensational growth in the US, culminating in gracing the Harvard Business Review as the 'poster child' of social media enabled customer service, 'Twelp Force'.

But best of all, and most instructively for other UK retailers, PC/World did it all in the right order.  First, they retrained the staff, in what 'help' really means.  Definitely improved basic customer service, but then giving the colleagues (as I'm sure they're called), a real understanding of what customers really want – advice up front on which product to buy, help with installation, after sales service and even recycling of obsolete products. Finally, turn the colleagues from just shop floor assistants to real experts in TV, PC, and white goods.

Next revamp the retail environment, light and merchandise the products in a way that reflects that this is an exciting, innovative, technology rich category, and takes best in category learning from Apple and John Lewis.  And negotiate exclusive distribution arrangements with the one brand that can provide a beautiful aura over everything – Apple.

And finally, and only finally, when the colleagues and experience lives up to it, use advertising to communicate the new positioning.  Brand ads to showcase the 'differentiation' featuring unexpected examples of service – washing machine recycling; wall mounting Smart TVs; ads to talk to the technological expertise of the new colleagues (Darth Vader).  And then product and price ads to 'compete' in the market.  But product and price ads that have a '21st century tech' feel consistent with the new retail environment, and end with the Currys/PC World philosophy – We can help.

In the fascinating world of retail, Currys/PC World is a masterclass in survival and adaptation.  

Adwatch (Nov 28) Top 20 recall: Currys/PC World
Latest Nov-21 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 49
2 -6 DFS  Krow/MediaCom 45
3= (–) Lloyds TSB  RKCR Y&R/MEC 37
3= (–) Microsoft Surface  BMB, in-house/UM London 37
5 (–) Harveys  HMDG/MediaVest 36
6 (–) Burger King  CHI&Partners/Initiative 35
7 (19=) Currys/PC World  M&C Saatchi/Walker Media 33
8 (–) B&Q  McCann London/ZenithOptimedia 32
9 -12 WH Smith  DLKW Lowe/Carat 31
10 -3 Argos  CHI&Partners/MindShare 29
10= (-) Costa Coffee  Karmarama/Zenith Optimedia 29
12 (-) Sony  Wieden + Kennedy Portland/OMD UK 27
13 (-) Freesat  VCCP/MPG 26
14= (-) O2  VCCP/Zenith Optimedia 23
14= (16=) Homebase  Leo Burnett/Mindshare 23
16 (-) Toys R Us  Active Pictures/MEC 22
17= (33=) Panasonic (Lumix G5)  LLR + Brave/Vizeum 20
17= (-) National Lottery  AMV BBDO/OMD UK 20
17= (29=) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/Initiative 19
20 (-) Rooster Potatoes  MPH/Carat 19

Webwatch (Nov 28) Top 20 recall:
Currys/PC World
Latest Oct-31 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) eBay  In-house/Carat 41
2 -1 Netflix  In-house/MEC 35
3 (–) Sony Pictures (Skyfall)  Spinnaker/Manning Gottlieb OMD 34
4 (–) Tesco  Engine Creative/Initiative 32
5 (–) Paramount Pictures (Madagascar 3)  In-house/MEC 27
6 (–) Marks & Spencer  In-house/In-house 24
7 (7=) Barclays  Dare/Maxus 23
8 (–) Halifax  Adam & Eve DDB/MEC 19
9= (–) Sony Xperia  Iris/PHD 17
9= (–) Vodafone  Dare/OMD UK 17
11 (-) O2  VCCP/Zenith Optimedia 16
12 (-) Macmillan Cancer Support  Ranch/Vizeum 14
13= (-) Barclaycard  BBH/Maxus 13
13= (-) Microsoft  BMB.LLP + In-house/In-house 13
15 (-) Motorola Razr i  Goodby Silverstein + Ogilvy & Mather/Mindshare 12
16= (-) Mercedes Benz  Weapon 7/Maxus 11
16= (-) Dulux  In-house/Mediacom 11
18= (15=) YouView TV  Adam & Eve DDB/OMD UK 10
18= (11=) Orange  Publicis Chemistry/MEC 10
18= (7=) Jackpotjoy.com  In-house/In-house 10

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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