Debenhams launches advertising review with 'social shopping' brief

Debenhams is reviewing its advertising requirements, putting incumbent J Walter Thompson on alert.

'Found it': Debenhams' 2016 Christmas ad
'Found it': Debenhams' 2016 Christmas ad

The retailer, which has over 175 stores in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, is poised to contact agencies via the intermediary AAR with a marketing communications brief which is set to be "widened" in scope.

The review follows the launch of a new marketing strategy to "make shopping confidence-building, sociable and fun". Sergio Bucher, the chief executive who joined the company in October 2016, is promoting the concept of ‘social shopping’.

JWT has worked with Debenhams since 2009. The WPP agency’s chief executive James Whitehead said the agency will repitch for the business and said: "With the 'Debenhams Redesigned' strategy now being executed we will be able to bring the full breadth of our diversified offering to the pitch, delivering the new ambition for the brand and the business."

The review does not affect Carat, Debenhams’ media planning and buying agency.

Debenhams' last major TV campaign launched last Christmas and featured a high-profile cast of voiceover artists including Jennifer Saunders and Ewan McGregor. 

Debenhams marketing director, Richard Cristofoli, said: "We have enjoyed a very productive working relationship with JWT for over seven years. We feel that the time is now right to review our needs from an agency.

"Customers are more fluid than ever in the way they engage with brands. Therefore, through this process we will broaden our search for a partner or partnership agencies that can develop our brand identity as well as our communications in a way that reflects the new strategic direction."