War of Words on High Street over Dixons' Advertising; ANALYSIS

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

War of Words on High Street over Dixons' Advertising; ANALYSIS


Byline: Lucy Tobin

It's tHe battle between shop and website that has become the talk of the retail world. After retreating from the High street to the internet three years ago, Dixons has launched a series of tube adverts mocking the prices and service on offer at traditional stores including selfridges, Harrods and John Lewis.

The DsGi-owned store's ads adopt the rival retailers' signature colours and fonts to state, as in the "John Lewis-style" advert: "step into middle england's best loved department store, stroll through haberdashery to the audio visual department where an awfully well brought up young man will bend over backwards to find the right tV for you."

It goes on: "then go to Dixons.co.uk and buy it." needless to say, the m&c saatchi-designed campaign has led to some tart responses blowing in from certain headquarters in Knightsbridge and oxford street.

Harrods has threatened legal action about the ad referring to the shopping experience beginning with an "exotic staircase" in a Knightsbridge department store where "Piers in the pinstripe suit" works. A spokeswoman for the department store described the campaign as "a low-down swipe" and said lawyers had written to Dixons "demanding that it substantiates the claims".

Selfridges remained tight-lipped while John Lewis' spokesman said: "our customers Hvalue service above anything else, so whilst we wouldn't normally comment on competitor advertising, we do find it a bit odd that another business would try to make a virtue of the fact that they don't have anything like a comparable service."

But could John Lewis be missing the point? Dixons doesn't sell on the back of service. Having dumped its High street presence - although 25 Dixons travel outlets still exist in UK airports and DsGi also owns currys and Pc World - it is trying to tap into the spending patterns of the so-called credit crunch shopper. this creature has staked out a shopping experience based on investigating big-ticket purchases in shops, then comparing prices online and buying from the cheapest possible source.

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