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Assessing Pan-European Campaigns McArthurGlen’s new marketing team faced a dilemma which is common to those with marketing responsibilities in multiple territories – to what extent should their brand communication strategy be standardised?

Insight. Strategy. Implementation.

IS PAN-EUROPEAN ADVERTISING WORKING? Executive Summary McArthurGlen’s new group marketing team faced a problem which is common to marketers operating across multiple geographies; to what degree should the organisation balance the benefits of a standardised marketing communication programme with the needs of country markets in aligning themselves with consumer preferences and distinguishing themselves from local competitors.

About McArthurGlen


McArthurGlen introduced factory outlet retailing to

McArthurGlen had been marketing all of its European

Europe in 1995 and has since has become the leading

sites under the tagline 'Guilt-Free Shopping' since 2005.

developer and manager of designer outlet villages in Europe.

Changes in group marketing leadership and agency relationships meant this strategy was due for re-

In 2008, the company operated 18 European sites, and

appraisal. But, before the incoming team began to

partnered with hundreds of luxury brands offering

develop a new approach, HGI’s asset managers

discounts of 30-70% off manufacturers recommended

requested an independent assessment of the

retail prices in attractive, out-of-town environments.

performance of the campaign in Europe to understand whether it was delivering the desired benefits to the

Twelve of McArthurGlen’s designer outlet villages are

business and to highlight examples of sharp and incisive

owned by international asset management company

delivery which could be socialised among marketing

Henderson Global Investors (HGI), the sponsor of this

teams in multiple countries.


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Task Lucidity London were commissioned by retail marketing

To understand the influence of external factors on

specialist BWP Group to help them evaluate the impact

footfall e.g. trends in disposable income, clothing

of McArthurGlen’s 'Guilt-Free Shopping' campaign on

expenditure, consumer confidence, competitor

the performance of three designer outlet villages in

expenditure and weather conditions, we briefed local

Troyes (near Paris), Rome and Berlin.

research and media monitoring organisations to source data in a weekly time-series format.

When datasets began to arrive, they were translated,


checked for inconsistencies and variation, and then Before we began to develop a framework for assessing the effectiveness of the campaign, we set up a feasibility study to determine whether key datasets were going to

introduced in to our initial model to determine whether we had robust data on the main factors driving footfall to each village.

be available or if anything crucial was going to be missing.

Three Market Mix Models were created (one for each village) and an examination of relationships between

Data briefs were sent to McArthurGlen’s country marketers to gather business performance data over the modelling period, and market-related data held internally which might explain changes in performance (e.g. advertising campaigns, events, promotions,

individual variables and footfall began. In particular, we focused attention on media expenditure, competitor activity and macro-economic factors to determine whether these were influencing footfall at each village, and to what degree they were influential.

economic variables, seasonal trends and more). A campaign report was produced for each village, with a McArthurGlen’s internal systems captured weekly footfall, sales and ATV data, so we chose to base our model on weekly footfall volumes over the 3 year period the campaign had been on show.

clear view of all marketing expenditures and activities undertaken and an assessment of the impact of the Guilt-Free Shopping campaign on footfall. Furthermore, we highlighted several key factors that were influencing that performance alongside examples of high quality

Business performance, adspend and marketing planning

delivery of the campaign.

data arrived for each village, along with copies of creative treatments and evaluation reports of individual events and activities.

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The Campaign The ‘Guilt Free Shopping’ campaign was created in the UK by the creative agency Publicis Dialog to appeal to affluent consumers across Europe. The creative executions featured images of women in passionate embraces with products purchased at McArthurGlen’s designer outlet villages, and attempted to capture the abundance, style and quality of designer clothing and accessories available at each outlet village. Source: McArthurGlen, Oct 2008

Example of a high level overview of an individual campaign activity

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Results The ‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign coincided with a

responsibility for assessing the effectiveness of

period of growing footfall and sales at each village and our

advertising in individual country markets.

study was able to provide evidence of how part of that growth was driven by the communication campaign.

For Henderson’s asset managers though, the question was whether McArthurGlen should continue with a

However isolating the effects of advertising is typically

standardised communication programme in Europe to

difficult and time-consuming, and to do so effectively

keep control of the brand image close to corporate HQ

companies must design a measurement framework

and deliver economies of scale in marketing. Or should

before their campaign starts.

marketing be decentralised so individual business units can focus on meeting local consumer preferences while

In executing this campaign though, McArthurGlen’s

driving differentiation among local competitors?

local marketing teams didn’t put sufficient measures in place to assess the group’s investment in reaching

To this question, we recommended retaining the current

advertising goals - like increasing consumer

strategy. The evidence from our study showed that each

awareness, consideration, preference or loyalty. They

village was working to a tailored marketing plan and were

were so focused on driving footfall they committed

suitably adapting head office generated campaigns to

too much expenditure to media purchasing, and too

their own needs. Differentiator’s such as the village

little on advertising performance assessment.

environment and anchor brands available were receiving some prominence in campaign collateral, and the

There was also strong evidence to suggest that the

company’s core message 'big brands at reduced prices'

‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign was only partially

was applied very consistently.

implemented in some European markets. Anecdotally this was due to the use of the word ‘guilt’ which is tied

As well as answering this question, our evaluation also

up in complicated socio-cultural/religious nuances.

uncovered multiple examples of sharp and incisive

For this reason, marketing teams in France and Italy

campaign delivery, particularly in the areas of customer

judged the ‘Guilt-Free’ copy line to be unusable as a

events, consumer research, digital communication and

messaging strategy, which meant the campaign was

customer loyalty.

little more than a set of high fashion images and layouts for adverts.

Actionable insights and communication efficiencies like these were written up as best practices and socialised

For McArthurGlen’s incoming marketing team, the

between marketers in a dedicated exchange forum which

programme highlighted the importance of

featured excellence in marketing performance.

establishing a methodology, budget and a line of

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McArthurGlen Case Study  
McArthurGlen Case Study  

Describes the work of Lucidity London, a marketing consultancy, on behalf of McArthurGlen, the owner, developer and manager of 21 designer...