Magazine article Marketing

PC World Breaks Rank

Magazine article Marketing

PC World Breaks Rank

Article excerpt

The retailer is swimming against the tide by shunning price in favour of brand, writes Joe Thomas.

Heeding the advice of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), PC World has announced plans to launch its first brand-led, rather than price-led, campaign.

The IPA must be pleased that at least one brand has listened to its counsel. Yet coming from a company that has always emphasised price promotions, such a strategy shift seems perplexing - especially as a host of other brands have gone in the other direction.

Even Waitrose, traditionally known as a high-end supermarket, has waded into the price battle and launched Essentials, a range of everyday items at a lower price. The retailer is supporting it with a price-focused ad campaign that also flags up the breadth of the range. The push, which breaks this week, is a far cry from last year's generic 'picnic' TV ad.

PC World claims it planned its brand campaign before the recession began to bite, as part of a long-term strategy. As a precursor, the DSGi-owned company has already rolled out a programme of store upgrades and has invested in retraining its staff. It will continue to run price-focused ads, but the multimedia brand campaign represents its biggest single advertising investment to date.

PC World's many rivals, including Comet, may be focusing purely on price. However, PC World's marketing director, Niall O'Keefe, insists that there is more to a purchase than simply price for consumers.

'Price is clearly a key driver for people at the moment, but it always has been, and I certainly don't think it's the only consideration, even with the economy as it is,' he says.

'People still want the peace of mind that they're buying the right product for their individual needs and lifestyle, and for the right price. This requires good advice from people who know what they're talking about.'

Considering the strains that marketing departments are now placed under by commercial and sales teams, it is understandable that the wider focus has largely shifted to price.

O'Keefe, however, claims this does not apply to PC World. 'Our buyers and category teams are focused on sourcing the best products at the best price for our customers. …

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