• Transform magazine
  • March 03, 2024


How Primark is tapping into consumer sentiment to win this Christmas

Thumbnail Stephen Ardern Square

Stephen Ardern, managing director at British brand agency Continuous, discusses his company’s latest project with Primark, and how the work was informed by the UK’s economic woes.

When uncertainty and shifting expectations are the new normal, understanding how to thrive as a brand in a continuously changing world is vital. The cost-of-living crisis has thrown up challenge after challenge, and consumer confidence has never been so low – in fact, rated at -44 on GfK’s (Growth from Knowledge) Consumer Confidence Barometer, it’s the lowest since records began in 1974.

So how can brands adapt to this new normal?

One way is through building a distinctive and coherent look and feel that’s flexible enough to combine with responsive, well-timed ideas that create meaningful interactions with your customers.

An example of one such idea is our latest global holiday campaign for Primark, launched earlier this month.

On the back of last year’s work which looked to spread some festive fun to Covid-weary audiences around the world, our latest campaign shows people that they can still look forward to the holiday season, despite feeling the pinch.

Make people excited to save

Our research showed that 55% of people have started to trim their financial outputs and that there’s been a 77% increase in people believing brands should help them save money.

But Primark is already great at this. In fact, our approach was based on the ‘thrill of realisation’ and the insight that people love discovering what they can find at Primark over the holidays – for less than they thought.

The season’s worst kept secret

Our global holiday campaign ‘The season’s worst kept secret’ shows that Primark lets people look forward to the holiday season by turning that feeling of dread into one of relief.

And it’s born from a brand truth: that whenever anyone pays a compliment on something we’ve got from Primark, we can’t wait to tell them where we got it from – framing savings as a joyful win instead of a compromise. It also works on a seasonal level, as what Primark offers in terms of festive fashion, gifting, homeware, beauty and licence is so varied, people can hardly believe it’s Primark.

We crafted the campaign’s tone, look and feel to support the cheeky underdog tone of the brand. Inspired by kitsch pop culture, and bright blasts of colour seen in the fashion world from the likes of Moschino, Primark stands out from the stereotypical Christmas colour palette of other brands.

Spread a little joy

So in a world where there’s widespread anxiety and worry, Primark’s ‘worst kept secret’ shows that maybe it is possible to celebrate the holidays without breaking the bank.