Retail Week shares inspiration from some of the best digital marketing campaigns across the sector.

Digital marketing is now a major part of every retailer’s strategy. Retailers want to be where their customers are, and now – regardless of age – that is online. 

Many have put digital marketing at the core of their businesses. ‘Inspire with great content’ is one of Asos’ four strategic objectives – and this does not just mean having immersive content on its own website. Chief executive Nick Beighton says it wants to amplify its content so that it’s everywhere its customers are.

Cross-channel video is one of these areas – Asos’ videos were viewed more than 66 million times in its last financial year, double that of the previous year – and it now has a team of more than 80 content producers.

Asos is not alone. New Burberry boss Marco Gobbetti made digital communications one of the key prongs of his turnaround of the luxury group as it aims to “leverage our extensive digital reach to convey new energy”. 

Retail Week looks at some of the best examples of digital marketing across the sector. 

Nike: Nothing Beats a Londoner 

Nike’s newest ad campaign, released earlier this month, is already being talked about as one of the best advertising campaigns ever made.

Nike's latest campaign has received plaudits

If London – the real London, not the part the tourists see – was transposed onto film, this ad might just be the result. Street style, grime music and sport are all thrown into the mix together, creating a heady brilliance that is bound to seduce Nike’s target customer.

What’s more, this video was clearly made by people who love their city, who know its sense of humour and aren’t afraid to send up its heritage or less desirable parts; the clipped BBC voiceover and the caricature of Peckham at night speak to the audience with a colluding wink.

Add to that the myriad celebrity appearances and the clever tagline, and the city’s vibrant eclecticism radiates from the screen.

Nike's Nothing Beats a Londoner

Nike’s Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign featured mainly real-life Londoners

It was underpinned by half term community activity, with Nike sending professional athletes including gymnast Ellie Downie, sprinter Chijindu Ujah and footballer Leah Williamson into communities, coaching over 2,500 young people in 270 sports venues across the city.

The ad backs up Nike’s key customer acquisition strategy too: last year the sportswear brand identified that 80% of its growth over the next three years was expected to come from 12 global cities: Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.

If the other cities’ campaigns are this good, the brand has a winner on their hands.

Ted Baker: Keeping up with the Bakers

Ted Baker launched a soap opera-style programme, ‘Keeping Up With The Bakers’, to promote its spring 2017 range along with a 360° ad that was fully shoppable.

Ted Baker: Keeping up with the Bakers

The soap opera, which was shown in episodes on Instagram Stories, takes place in a Stepford Wives-style universe where the Baker family lives. Viewers can look around the fashionable family’s home and are able to purchase their clothing and homewares.

The retailer brought the campaign to life in stores with a virtual reality experience via Google Cardboard and an interactive window.

When shoppers passed the Ted Baker window, a camera was triggered, placing them within the window. The interaction was then photographed and posted to the brand’s social channels.

The campaign trailer was watched 1.9 million times and received 19,000 likes on social media.

The marketing campaign was in keeping with Ted Baker’s quirky style of storytelling, making most of the brand’s social following and serving to drive shoppers in-store.

Domino’s: The Mouth Boggles

Pizza delivery Goliath Domino’s has a knack for exploiting millennial social currency to drum up online engagement.

In 2015, the fast food business enabled its US customers to order from them by tweeting a pizza emoji, in what chief executive Patrick Doyle dubbed “the epitome of convenience”.

In 2016, Domino’s took its social media marketing a step further with the launch of its ‘the mouth boggles’ campaign.

Domino's: The Mouth Boggles

The advert superimposed different mouths of Domino’s customers at a loss for words for their excitement to eat the firm’s pizza – but the success of the campaign lay in its follow up online.

The pizza delivery firm produced a Snapchat lens, which allowed users to overlay a ‘Lost for Words’ lens which “boggles their mouth”. 

Domino’s also curated a selection of GIFs that allowed social media users to humorously express how eating or waiting for their Domino’s delivery made them feel, which collectively notched up a staggering 33 million views.

The success of this campaign lies in Domino’s combined understanding of what motivates their customer to buy from them – be it a cosy Saturday night in, to a hungover Sunday afternoon – and how those people interact with each other online.

By having a plethora of options readily available for shoppers to use, all of which are authentically tied in with how they would behave online anyway, Domino’s was able to drive genuine customer engagement.

Superdry: This is the Jacket

Superdry has become ubiquitous in recent years and has attracted a wider and wider customer base. Over the past 12 months it has been using digital and social marketing to re-establish itself with its millennial target audience.

It kickstarted this with its spring 2017 campaign, ‘The Night is Young’, which drove a 20% rise in new customers.

In autumn 2017, it launched ‘This is the Jacket’, a campaign designed to reinforce its strength in this product area.

Superdry: This is the Jacket

Music is key to the attitude-packed campaign, which is set to a track produced especially for the advert by up-and-coming grime artist Paigey Cakey.

The advert follows a group of young people through various scenarios, from 3am takeaways to romantic hook-ups, all while wearing a variety of Superdry jackets. The message? That these jackets get you through life.

The retailer also worked with influencers and content creators, tasking them to document what their favourite jacket allows them to do.

Superdry has used digital channels and the pull of influencers and music artists to rebuild its cool and show that the brand is not for Surrey-dwelling City workers.

Carphone Warehouse: Samsung Galaxy S8

A new smartphone release and a chicken shop may not seem like a match made in heaven, but Carphone Warehouse has shown that combining the two can be a canny way of reaching a younger customer.

The electricals retailer teamed up with YouTube sensation the Chicken Connoisseur – who reviews different London chicken shops and has amassed a following of over half a million subscribers – for the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone last April.

Carphone Warehouse: Samsung Galaxy S8

The video, which sees Chicken Connoisseur star Elijah Quashie espousing the perks of the new Samsung device to chicken shop staff and smothering it in ketchup to prove that it is actually waterproof, was pushed on all of Carphone Warehouse’s social media channels.

Since it launched last year the minute-long clip has amassed more than 2.7 million views, with the first one million views logged after just 72 hours of release, according to Carphone Warehouse.

By teaming up with a rising star of YouTube, Carphone Warehouse put themselves front of mind for social media savvy millennial shoppers looking to snap up a new smartphone.

Clearly seeing that it was on to a winner in terms of social engagement, Carphone Warehouse went on to promote the release of the Google Pixel 2 with a video tie-up with Chicken Shop Date host Amelia Dimoldenberg.

Burberry: Mr Burberry

Burberry’s 2016 campaign for its men’s fragrance Mr Burberry was a highly cinematic affair shot by Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen of 12 Years a Slave fame.

McQueen, who had never shot a commercial project before, chose to use 70mm film to give the ad a cinematic quality.

Burberry: Mr Burberry

The method of shooting coupled with the grandeur of London’s Regent Street and the soaring soundtrack is juxtaposed with a love story – the epic and the intimate play out together.

The result is a luxurious film – prime London real estate, expensive hotel rooms and Burberry tailoring – which takes the viewer into a fantasy world for three minutes, before presenting the affordable take on it with a shot of the Mr Burberry scent.