Debenhams rethinks spend and adds in-store AR for new season

Debenhams is doubling its investment in print advertising and introducing in-store augmented reality (AR) for the first time, to push its autumn-winter collection.

Television activity will spearhead the drive and has been given a "cinematic feel", with creative set to a backing track by Sony Music artist Foxes.

Her debut solo single 'Youth' has been selected as the backing track, while the singer makes a cameo in the ad, wearing a Henry Holland dress.

Creative by JWT features the fashion designers’ sketches when the viewer is shown the hero product transformed into the original sketch.

Richard Cristofoli, marketing director at Debenhams, said: "Nobody else gives their customers the level of access to names that really dominate the headlines of London Fashion Week."

Activity is supported by the new extended strapline of "Life made fabulous with the unrivalled collection of Designers at Debenhams".

Designers having their clothing featured in the campaign include Preen, Holland, Julien Macdonald, Ben de Lisi, Jasper Conran and Betty Jackson.

Cristofoli added that this year’s activity "will be noticeably bigger" than last year’s autumn campaign, with additional spend on TV, print and digital.

Debenhams in reinvesting in print because Cristofoli said he felt "we didn’t do enough print advertising at the launch of the new season and therefore we wanted to address that this time".

The in-store augmented reality activity will allow people to hold their mobile up to promotional material in order to play a video featuring designers introducing their trend.

Cristofoli said more interactive elements would not be added in-store for the sake of it because, "it’s very easy to get into a box-ticking exercise".

Debenhams will also run designer takeovers of its Facebook page across the next four weeks to allow fans to ask for advice.

The campaign is especially important for Debenhams as it is a "big year" for the company because of the 200th anniversary celebrations and the £25m refitting of its Oxford Street store to make it "a true global flagship for the brand".

Cristofoli said: "None of us are expecting a massive consumer bounceback in confidence – this is about putting our very best foot forward going into the new season."