Friday, 18 June 2010

Daddy or chips

Remember that advert for oven chips where Big Sister asks Little Sister which she loves most: “Daddy or chips?” Little sister thinks long and hard about the question and in the evening, as Daddy pinches a chip from Little Sister’s plate she concludes “chips…” Poor Daddy, he always gets a raw deal. So how are retailers combating it this Father’s Day?

As it’s predicted that we’ll spend more on Father’s Day this year—Verdict estimates that Brits will spend £771 million preparing for 20th June this year—I wanted to analyse what sort of offers retailers were promoting in order to get us to part with our cash and treat our dads. In a rather unscientific (and random) way I picked 12 emails that landed in my inbox with reference to Father’s Day.

Only one of those emails, sent on 16th June from gifts cataloguer Lily & Lime, promoted a free gift-wrapping service. It was also in the minority of emails that promoted free shipping. Of those that did offer free delivery, Direct Golf set a £10 threshold, whilst vitamins and supplements marketer Trust William wanted me to spend £30 to qualify for free delivery. Considering that Trust Williams’ main Father’s Day offer was a £15 shaving pack, I thought it was a bit mean that I had to spend twice as much to enjoy free shipping. What’s more, when I visited the website I couldn’t find any information about how much delivery would cost. That’s something Trust William should probably look to rectify.

Out of 12 emails, only three were overtly price-driven. Direct Golf had the biggest price-related promotion. It featured a variety or price points: From golf balls for £19.99 to a putter that was reduced by £109 to £60. Personally I feel more could have been made of the high-end gifts, for example, a GPS golf device worth £329 and premium golf shoes at £90 were subtitled “Luxury Gifts - For That Extra Special Dad!”, but the images were much smaller than the main offer. Why?

Gifts and gadgets etailer I Want One of Those is another that went straight for my wallet. Its email on 2nd June promoted a 50 percent off sale, though its “IWOOT Top Six for Father’s Day” were not in the sale. This email was choc-full of offers and promotions. There was a competition to win a mini helicopter if email subscribers wrote in with tales of their embarrassing dads; there were videos to watch, and 25 percent off photo gifts.

Speaking of videos, that’s the tactic Marks & Spencer went for. Its robust email directed customers to its Father’s Day video featuring former footballer Jamie Redknapp, it also set up a dedicated Father’s Day shop on its website where all the items featured in the email could be found. The email itself promoted wine, strawberries, gifts in all price points, personalised cards… but no discount or free delivery. M&S is obviously hoping we love Daddy more than chips.

Of the other emails I looked at, Joules stood out with the most eye-catching email. It proudly promoted the “Father’s Day Gift of a Lifetime”. Indeed the offer looks great--a day’s sailing for Dad and eight family members or friends on a 60ft yacht. I was least impressed with Natural Collection, which in addition to making Dad share the email with The Fat Bird (a type of bird feeder before you ask), got the day wrong! It had the date as Sunday 21st June—as one famous Dad would say, “D’oh!”--MT

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