Debenhams enters Christmas fray with campaign spotlighting thoughtful givers

It is the retailer's latest attempt to 'reclaim the joy of shopping'.

Debenhams has shifted the focus of its Christmas ad from receiving gifts to thoughtful buying for others, as the beleaguered retailer continues its push to make shopping more "joyful".  

Four 20-second spots, launching today online and on 9 November during Channel 4’s Gogglebox, champion thoughtful givers while positioning Debenhams as a place to discover the perfect gifts for loved ones. As the givers realise they have made a sound choice of Christmas present, they relish their accomplishment to the soundtrack of Star by Kiki Dee. With voiceover by actress Jenna Coleman, each ad ends with the strapline: "Do a bit of you know you did good." 

The campaign will run on ITV, Channel 4 and across video-on-demand in the run-up to Christmas, including digital, social media and print executions. It was directed by Ric Cantor through Hungry Man.

This is the second work from Mother since the agency won the business from eight-year incumbent J Walter Thompson last year. In September, Mother unveiled a refreshed brand identity and advertising for the retailer centred on the platform "Do a bit of Debenhams". 

The latest campaign continues that messaging and strategy, unveiled by Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher, to become a destination for "social shopping". More than 70 stores will house Christmas markets to showcase premium gifts in festive huts and there will also be a series of independent local food and drink pop-ups in shops, including gin bars and gelato stands.

Richard Cristofoli, Debenhams managing director of beauty and marketing, said: "Shoppers told us that the real joy of shopping comes from discovering the gift that you know the recipient is going to really love. We wanted to celebrate that moment."

The work breaks with Christmas advertising conventions, Mother partner Ana Balarin added: "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."

Last month, Debenhams reported a record annual loss of £491.5m, compared with profits of £59m in the previous year, and said it plans to close up to 50 stores, putting 4,000 jobs at risk. 

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