W. H. Smith, the most recent casualty of the high-street slowdown
in consumer spending, has launched a multi-million pound TV ad blitz to
sustain itself through the peak Christmas trading period.
The retailer is putting the bulk of its pounds 8.3 million annual spend
behind a series of 15 commercials breaking nationally this week through
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
The initiative comes during a tough period for the company, when sales
growth has plunged to 1 per cent in recent weeks compared with 6 per
cent during the summer.
The advertising is intended to exploit what the company predicts will be
a much more encouraging period, spearheaded by a shift in the stores’
stocks to more books and fewer sweets.
The campaign will rely on what Nigel Leahy, the company’s advertising
and promotions manager, called ’a winning combination of humour and
strong product messages’.
He added: ’Christmas is always our biggest advertising period in terms
of numbers of treatments to complement the major trading period of the
The range of Christmas gifts available at W. H. Smith - from CDs to
videos, CD-Roms and books - feature prominently in the commercials,
which take their cue from National Lampoon-style humour.
The actor, Nicholas Lyndhurst, again recreates every member of the
H. Smith family whose spectacularly disastrous Christmas holiday in the
Swiss Alps leaves them unable to open their presents.
The ads were written by Malcolm Duffy, art directed by Paul Briginshaw
and directed by Sid Roberson through Sid Roberson films.
Media was bought and planned through Motive.