Monday, 16 November 2015

Pret A Manger dares to be different this Christmas

The UK’s fastest growing coffee chain Pret A Manger has caused quite a stir this week with news that they will donate their entire Christmas digital marketing budget to charity.

In the weeks leading to Christmas campaigns usually go in to overdrive to capture increased consumer spending. This year will be no different for Pret, but with another focus in mind. Shunning the traditional Christmas campaign-spending spree, the company have instead opted to dedicate there marketing channels and digital media spend to five separate charities. The charities form part of the Pret Foundation Trust and will also receive 50p from each sandwich sold in store over the holiday period.

The campaign officially kicked off last Monday where a store in London’s Broadwick Street was decorated as a giant Christmas present. Customers were encouraged to break through the Christmas wrappings to receive the free festive turkey and stuffing sandwiches inside.

To raise awareness of Pret’s Foundation, the company launched a campaign called ‘A little Thank You’ on both its website and social media. This features news about the charities along with pictures and videos of the trusts' work in the community. The group director of Pret said “We’re delighted to donate our marketing channels and media, both physical and digital, to the Pret Foundation Trust and the charities we work with. It’s our way of saying ‘a little thank you’”.

Back in April I wrote about Pret’s unusual approach to marketing, giving away free coffee to customers at the discretion of the staff. Although unusual, it was a great way to build customer loyalty in the ultra competitive coffee market. I think this is another classic example of ‘being noticeably different’. Using a non-traditional approach to advertising will win the support of customers. Rather than being bombarded with sales messages in the festive period, the company will use its money to increase awareness of important issues. More than two million customers will see the charity logos on coffee cups and in store advertising.

By taking this bold decision, Pret is helping to raise the profile of its charity partners and alleviate poverty by directly tackling the issue of homelessness. This is a great move to continue building good will among its community of customers, while raising an anticipated £1.6 million pounds for charity.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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