Debenhams celebrates the triumph of finding the right gift in Christmas ads by Mother

It’s going to take a lot more than a good ad campaign to turn around this retailer’s fortunes, but Mother is certainly doing its bit for Debenhams with a spirited series of ads that celebrates the triumphant feeling you get when you’ve bought the perfect present.

While John Lewis has paid big bucks for Elton John, Debenhams has settled for his former sidekick, Kiki Dee, whose song, “Star” (you’ll recognise it) sums up the mood of Mother’s ads.

The tune blasts out to underscore the “fist pump” moment of joy for the characters in four 20-second ads: the uncle, the date, the best friend, and the party guest.

Ana Balarin, a partner at Mother said: “Breaking with what has become Christmas advertising convention with this campaign, we wanted to shift the attention from the gift receiver to the person buying it, and really focus on that ‘nailed it’ moment, which every shopping fan will identify with.”

Debenhams has come up with some other ideas to help boost festive sales. More than 70 of its 250 stores will house Christmas markets, where shoppers can go to different stalls to find gifts on themes like Live Well, Gin Palace, Dapper Gent, Retro Arcade and Snuggle Me. In some stores there will be pop-ups from local suppliers, and all will offer a gift-wrapping service.

Some retailers had been threatening to scale down their Christmas campaigns, but they have clearly decided that advertising is a price worth paying at this crucial time of year. Debenhams ads will appear across TV networks including ITV and Channel 4, as well as on video on demand. They will also be all over social media and in print in You Mag and Metro.

MAA creative scale: 8.5

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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